At INK inc PR, stories are our business. Finding and recognizing great client stories that resonate with the media is what we’re really good at…but we also appreciate a good tale regardless. One of our most favorite times of the week is Monday morning when we gather around our conference room table to talk about our week and run through the progress we are making in serving our clients. Our founder and CEO, Dick Grove, always begins the week with a personal story from his past that somehow relates to a discussion or current event. Since Valentine’s Day is on Sunday, Dick reminded us of a popular movie from the 70”s which triggered a story that all of us INKster’s know well and still get a chuckle each and every time he tells it. Enjoy!
The Valentine Story
by Dick Grove
Valentine’s Day is this weekend, of course, and it reminded me again that a good tale is always worth repeating. It was nearly forty years ago this weekend that I was in the early stages of my career working for a large financial services corporation as a mid-level communications executive. I had recently received a gift of an over-sized Hershey chocolate bar…one of those five-pound monsters used for promotional purposes…in return for doing a favor for a guest speaker at a recent company outing. The gift was delivered to my office with a nice thank-you note recognizing the favor and noting that candy might be an appropriate “fun gift” at this time of year. Given the enormous size of the chocolate bar I set it high on a credenza against the wall just inside my office door as a memento and reminder of kind reciprocity….soon to be forgotten. Or so I thought.
It was approximately a week or two later that as I arrived early to my office, one morning I happened to notice a small tear on one corner of the packaging. As I looked closer, I noticed that the tear covered a bite-sized piece of the chocolate bar itself missing. My first reaction was a mouse had invaded my office, but I soon dismissed the thought and settled on human consumption considering I was on the 37th floor of a high-rise building. My next reaction was a bit more animated and vocal…walking down the hall asking who among my colleagues might be so crass as to ruin a personal gift with such an inconsiderate act? The denials grew as I moved my way down the hall of offices and cubicles, edging ever closer to top management’s office suites in the corner. However, just before reaching this elite area, the CEO’s personal assistant intercepted me and pulled me into an empty cubicle with a polite admonition to lower my voice and share her knowledge of the situation. She quietly informed me that her boss often worked late in the office at night and often got a sweet tooth around midnight. She frequently left a couple of candy bars on her desk just to satisfy such a circumstance but had forgotten to do so on this occasion. Thus, her assumption was in one of the CEO’s midnight meanderings he had wandered the halls and discovered my ten-pound Hershey bar as if heaven itself had answered his sugar craving.
What exactly was I to do? I now had a damaged five-pound Hershey bar sitting on my credenza, a sweet tooth crazed CEO who barely knew my name or rank prowling the corporate halls at night, and enough smarts to know not to embarrass him with my knowledge of his crime. The answer was simple, and part of every junior exec’s arsenal of survival… do nothing. Rather, I propped the Hershey bar slightly closer and more convenient to my office door…and watched over the course of the next month as it slowly and methodically disappeared morsel by morsel until all that was left was the large brown Hershey wrapper lying deflated on the top of my credenza. Never a word was spoken again about the original incident nor the late night transgressions by the big guy in the corner office.
Epilogue… six years later when the same CEO and I were having dinner in New York after attending an award ceremony, and it was time for dessert; the waiter set in front of me a dessert plate with a small Hershey bar. I looked across the table at the CEO, who quietly smiled…