Every morning, the CEO of a large bank in Manhattan walks to the corner for a shoe shine. He sits in an armchair, examines the Wall Street Journal in minute detail while the shoe shiner buffs his shoes to a mirror shine.
One morning the shoe shiner asks the CEO: "What do you think about the situation in the stock market?"
The man answered arrogantly, "Why would you be so interested in that topic?"
The shoe guy replies, "I have millions in your bank," he says, "and I'm considering investing some of the money in the capital market."
"What's your name? " asked the executive.
John H. Smith was the reply.
The CEO arrives at the bank and asks the Manager of the Customer Service Department; "Do we have a client named John H. Smith?
"Certainly, answers the Customer Service Manager, " he is a high-net-worth customer with 12.6 million dollars in his account."
The executive comes out, approaches the shoe shiner, and says, "Mr. Smith, I would like to invite you next Monday to be the guest of honour at our board meeting to tell us the story of your life. I am sure we could all learn something from your life's experience."
At the board meeting, the CEO introduces him to the board members. "We all know Mr. Smith, from the corner shoeshine stand, but Mr. Smith is also an esteemed customer. I invited him here to tell us the story of his life. I am sure we can learn from him.
Mr. Smith began his story. "I came to this country fifty years ago as a young immigrant from Europe with an unpronounceable name. I got off the ship without a penny. The first thing I did was change my name to Smith. I was hungry and exhausted. I started wandering around looking for a job but to no avail.
Fortunately, I found a coin on the sidewalk. I bought an apple. I had two options, eat the apple and quench my hunger or start a business. I sold the apple for 25 cents and bought two apples with the money. I also sold them and continued in business. When I started accumulating a few dollars, I was able to buy a set of used brushes and shoe polish and started polishing shoes. I didn't spend a penny on entertainment or clothing, I just bought bread and some cheese to survive. I saved penny by penny and after a while, I bought a new set of shoe brushes and polishes in different shades and expanded my clientele. I lived like a monk and saved penny by penny. After a while, I was able to buy an armchair so my clients could sit comfortably while I shined their shoes, and that brought me more clients. I did not spend a penny on the joys of life. I kept saving every cent.
A few years ago, when the very up-market shoe shiner on the main corner decided to retire, I had already saved enough money to buy his shoeshine location at this great superior location, which I promptly did.
And then, finally, 6 months ago, my sister, who was a prostitute in Chicago, passed away and left me 12.6 million dollars."