THE COSTLY PRICE OF PRIDE
The gentle breeze from the ocean whistled past the shores after the waves pushed ripples of water to hit the bank, the whooshing sound of the waves, the honking of the ships and yelling of the sailors planning for their next trip permeated the atmosphere. The port of Rotterdam is one of the largest ports in the world, always busy with different kinds of activities. Several licensed companies generated income from the port; one of them is Jeffrey’s Marina which provided shelter for tens of thousands of small fishing boats used by the local fishermen and tourists for occasional fishing.
Exhausted from the haste to meet up with the early morning schedule, legs heavy as lead and thighs stiff as a board, Ruth Van Bowen trudged and panted for air as she entered the gates of the Rotterdam Port. She has got 15 minutes more to make it to office as the early morning briefing starts by 8:00am prompt. Ruth, a conscientious twenty-five year old lady was known by her superiors as one of the brilliant heads running Jeffrey’s Marina; outspoken, bold, brainy all masked by a beautiful face. She had little or no respect for her subordinates or anyone considered to be a dullard, only individuals of her caste kept up with her as friends.
At 7:52am, she was just some few metres away from her Marina when she heard screams
She snapped her head back as she turned to look for the person in need. As her deep blue eyes scanned the area, she spotted a tearful bald-headed man trapped in a building gutted by flames. She was shocked and bewildered wondering how a stranger could have the guts to scream to her for help. The man was on the second floor of the three-storey building as he pointed towards the garage door on the ground floor amidst his hysterical screams for help. Dressed in his under wears as he had used his suit and trousers as a coat of protection through the sweltering flames and his fair-complexioned skin was darkened by the black soot from the flames. Ruth dressed impeccably in a white trouser suit, a red Italian hand bag and a pair of red high-heel shoes looked at him without an iota of pity. Pointed at the man with her finger and pointed also at her wrist watch meaning there is no luxury of time for such help. The irritating clicking of the high-heeled shoes as they hit the kerb signalled the majestic catwalk of Ruth as she headed for her office. She is a stickler for ostentatious gestures to display her pride. Barely a month ago, her closest friend, Jane told her about her obvious pride and disregard for the common-looking folks only to answer her in a rude way:
“I know that I am proud, I love it because I do get results and it gives me attention. I love the attention!!! ” she blurted out.
She however made it to the office by 7:58am and the click of her card in the identity recognition panel at the entrance granted her access into the building.
Two weeks later
The colorful ceremony which rocked Rotterdam hosted people from different walks of life, it was the unveiling of the new board members of Jeffrey’s Marina. A new board after a decade was drenched in wild celebrations. Due to her excellent communication skills, Ruth was beckoned up by the Planning Committee to anchor the programme alongside one of her admirers, Smith Campbell. As the programme dragged to its beautiful end, it was time for the annual awards.
The New CEO of Jeffrey’s Marina, Dr. Sonck Van Gogh dressed in his cream-colored Tuxedo walked majestically to the podium. This is the first time in the history of the company that the position of the CEO was advertised externally and produced a CEO who is new to the system. The time everyone had being waiting painstakingly for finally came.
“The award of the best staff of the year goes to no other person than an efficient, humble, hardworking and compassionate fellow who had not only discharged his duties properly but also represented this company well to the outside world. Give it up for Mr. Frederick Douglas.” Sonck gladly announced.
With heads swinging and faces lost in awe, Fred, a rookie and one of the most unlikely guys to land an award in his first year marched to meet Van Gogh in the middle of the hall amidst resounding roar of applause. As he made his way back to his seat, Sonck’s voice filled the air:
“The motto of Jeffrey’s Marina is? ” he asked.
“Service and humility” the mammoth crowd responded.
“This young man bagged the award for saving my life and that of my three beautiful daughters two weeks ago from a building lost in a gust of flames. It was a show of love, bravery, humility and service to humanity. The company’s name was mentioned honorably in the media because one of our employees saved a stranger in dire need of help. Funny enough the alien has now found his to the top of the company.”
Obsessed with the dreams of winning the award for the past three weeks, doom finally struck as her shoulders sagged and head plunged down surveying the glistening tiles of the floor. With the award gone and Van Gogh as the new CEO, this was definitely the end…..
© 2015 by Osho Samuel Adetunji