A HEAVENLY VOICE
by Lissa M. Lee
by Lissa M. Lee
Last week at work, a dear friend of my boss dropped by and
related this story.
His company had been toiling and negotiating on an offer for
months. It had become the obsession of his office. They finally had
a realistic proposal and he was sitting across from his customer.
"Thanks, Dave," he said, "but we'll have to pass this year."
He was devastated. How could he face his employees? The loss
of this million dollar deal would result in layoffs. His stomach
initially tied in knots over presenting the bid, was now wrenched
tighter. He simply could not understand how the client could afford
to refuse their offer. He dreaded returning to the office.
Pulling into a truck stop he ordered coffee before returning to
the office. His waitress was friendly, although slightly distracted.
As she poured the coffee and he nonchalantly said hello and asked how
she was. He fully expected the traditional Southern response,
"Fine and you?"
"Oh, I've been better," she began. "My husband abandoned me and
the kids after Katrina. Left us stranded here and this is the only
job I could find. It ain't too bad mind you. The boss lets me work
around my kids so they ain't at home alone. But yesterday someone
stole my purse. It had everything in it, birth certificates, shot
records, social security cards, everything I had evacuated with. And
every penny we had, $300 was in there. Now I don't so much mind they
took the money, it's just money, but all those important papers. I
need those for the kids and their schooling. I don't even know if I
can get new papers with New Orleans being in such a mess."
He bobbed his head with feigning interest in her conversation.
He wanted to interrupt her and point out that she had only lost $300.
He had just lost millions. Before he could reply, she turned to
Sipping the warmth, he thought about their dilemmas. Both of
them had been dealt a raw deal, but self-pity made him feel that
somehow his loss was greater. Proportionally though, their losses
were probably equal.
As he drank my coffee he flipped his cell phone and attempted to
scan emails. No reception. Shutting it, he sank into the comfort of
the red plastic padded dining booth and stared aimlessly. His daze
was interpreted by the newly familiar voice.
"They found it!" She squealed with delight. "They found my
purse! All our important papers were still there. We're gonna be
Everyone in the truck stop applauded.
She came to refresh his coffee. He declined the offer and
congratulated her good fortune. She was gracious and told him to
have a nice day as he took his ticket and headed for the cash
"She's still out $300," the heavenly Voice whispered.
"Okay," he acknowledged. "I'll leave a $20. That's a 1000% tip."
"She's still out $300," came the Voice again.
"All right," he moaned, "I've got $50 in my wallet. I'll leave that."
"She lost $300," repeated the Voice.
"Look, God," he began. "I just lost a million dollar deal.
Have a little sympathy for me!"
"She lost $300," the Voice insisted.
"All right, all right," he grudgingly relented. Taking out his
American Express he paid for the coffee and wrote in a $300 tip.
Walking through the parking lot to his car, he tried his cell phone
again, still no tower. He got in his car and headed for the office
trying to think of a diplomatic way to break the bad news.
Opening the door to his office, his secretary practically leapt
from her desk to greet him.
"Mr. Smith," she bubbled, "You'll ever guess who just called!"
"Do I have to?" he asked.
"Oh no sir, I was just so excited I couldn't help myself," she
beamed. "Mr. Jones called right after you left. He tried getting
you on your cell, but he said he couldn't reach you. Must have been
in a dead zone, right sir?"
She inhaled and continued at lightening speed, "Anyway he said
he went over the figures you gave him with his sales and production
staff after your meeting. They decided to double the order. Can you
believe it! Doubled the order! Our price was just too good to pass.
They have faxed over the signed contracts! Isn't that fantastic?
The contracts are on you desk."
Stunned, he looked at his secretary in utter disbelief, "He said what?"
She slowly repeated the telephone conversation. He could not
believe it. He walked into the office to examine the faxed contracts
He noted the time on the fax and the American Express receipt.
They were the same.