Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Best Employer

After I wrote the last story about Kristie and me, I decided to track her down to see if she remembered our legendary feat.

"Hey, Kristie? Do you remember Don Bovaird, The Tree Man? This is his daughter, Amy. A long time ago you used to work for my dad. Do you remember that? I'm calling to...."

"Oh my! How long has it been? Like forty years?!


"Loading the truck up by ourselves...?" she hesitated, trying to dredge up the memory.

“No I don’t remember that. Your dad never even questioned what I could or couldn’t do so that’s how it affected me. You were all very sure of yourselves and I just picked that up. He never made a big deal about anything. He would give you a task to do and have the confidence you would do it, so you did it. He was extraordinary in that way.” She paused, recalling other tasks she carried out “I remember having to back up his ONE truck over a lake bank. He never stood over you, making you nervous, no matter what job you were given. He’d just let you at it. Your dad had a subtleness about him but with such a character! He was the best person I ever worked for in my life.”

We chatted on a bit about other memories and family, then our conversation drew to a close.

"Well, Kristie, what are you doing now?"

“I’m trimming shrubs. Isn't that a hoot?! I went from trees to shrubs. I have a simple life, and in Florida can work the year round. I never did do well indoors.”

Kristie’s probably the one summer worker who took on shrubs as a lifetime career move. Had he known, my father would have said to her, “Kristie, you ‘done real good’.”

The thought came to me how fun it would be to interview as many of his former employees as I could find to see what they remembered about him. I've already interviewed four people who have worked with him, one of whom also said he was the best employer he ever had; another wrote us a letter saying the same thing. What was it about him that made him such a memorable employer?

I started making lists of people to interview ... this might be a worthwhile lead and follow up for my book! Maybe I can also look up longtime customers ... what made them so loyal to my dad's business? Will they have any stories? I can hardly wait to begin!

No comments:

Post a Comment