Do the right thing by others
Taskmasters don’t come much tougher than Bob Thompson. For 40 years he pushed his highway workers hard six days a week from April to December to finish the job before the first frost. Their loyalty, sweat, and hard work helped make him a very rich man. Thompson remembered this and returned the favour. When he sold his company, Michigan’s largest asphalt and paving business, he gave his 550 current and retired employees $128 million from his gains. Even surviving spouses got cheques. Some 80 employees became instant millionaires. Thompson started the Thompson-McCully Company with $3,500 his wife, Ellen, earned from substitute teaching. The first five years in business were challenging. Thompson didn’t take a salary.
So why later did he give away so much of his fortune? ‘It was the right thing to do,’ he said. ‘You realise the people around you have gone through all the pain and suffering with you. I wanted to pay them back.’ When the cheques were handed out, Thompson wasn’t present. He said, ‘I didn’t want to be there because it gets too emotional.’
This man practised what the apostle Paul talked about: ‘Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good.’
Doing good is a full-time job. A person of character is guided by the North Star of goodness that leads them to ask in every situation, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’ And the answer is always: ‘Do the right thing by others.’