When Network You Increase Your Worth

Its Saturday morning at the Lone Palms golf course. The date is January 15, 1997. Michelle Johnson just moved into Lakeland, Fl. She walks into the golf club and sees member David Jenkins. She wanted to become a member herself. David helped her but he had other plans. He sees this stunning figure and can't wait to introduce himself. Instead of giving his real name, he gave her an alias. When she walked up, he told her introduced himself. He said hi and asked to be of assistance. Michelle said Yes, you may”. Michelle acknowledged that she is a golfer. She just moved in the Lakeland area. She then said that she wanted to become a member.

David is a golfer too. The two exchange names and start networking. Turns out, David is not a regular member. He's the boss of the club. Michelle ask “What's with that creepy photo upfront?” David replied

“Oh, that's just Mr. George”. George was the late founder of the course. His full name was George Washington Jenkins. Michelle says “I heard that before”. She asked for a course tour and he joyously said yes. Usually it's a no, but for her he made an exception. The two were talking and walking for a few hours. They acted like they knew one another for years. David saw the pure connection. He asked her for a date. Her love for Golf was evident and his for hers was too. The two even played golf together. It was noon when they finished. Before the two departed, they exchanged numbers, and they set up another golf date. As he walks her to her car, they pass that same portrait.

Michelle: He looks familiar. I cannot pinpoint who it is”

David: Oh, Mr. George is a rockstar around here.

Michelle: Where is he?

David: He passed away. He was old, but his legacy lives on here.

Michelle: Anything else he did besides find this club?

David: Yeah, he is a businessman and a philanthropist.

Michelle: I’m still trying to see where I know him.

David: He is also the founder of a huge grocery store chain.

Michelle: Oh wow!!!!!!!

David: His pictures are in every one of them worldwide.

Michelle: I read that he opened his first store not too far from here.

David: He did. What intrigued you to research him?

Michelle: Well, I am trying to work there.

David: Doing what?

Michelle: I want to be a customer service manager there.

David: Oh, wow!!!!! That’s great.

Michelle: I was for another store before I relocated here from Atlanta.

David: What was the store name?

Michelle: A little general store. It was family-owned.

David: What made you work there?

Michelle: I like servicing people. To me, customer service is a lifestyle.

David: Wow!!!! I never thought of it that way. Here is what you do.

David: Go home and fill out an application. Use me as a reference.

Michelle: Why should I use you?

David: Because I am from here.

Michelle: So is my best friend. Do you have Inside Connections?

David: You could say that. So where are you going from here?

Michelle: I am going to see my friend. I told her I would once I arrived.

David: But you lied.

Michelle: Excuse me!!!!

David: I mean, you came here instead.

Michelle: No, I went to her first, but it was too early, so I came here.

David: What is her name?

Michelle: Tasha. Latasha Renee Smith.

Michelle has no clue who David is, but she will. She also has no clue that Tasha used to date David. She knows his real identity. Once he hears this, he looks shocked as his phone rings. It is his mom, Anne Jenkins. Her husband just left the earth, and she has fallen into a state of depression. She called to inform David of the news. David notices her discomfort immediately. He feels that it is his fathers' passing, but it is more.

David: Hello, Mom, how are you today?

Anne: Well son, I am making it (Sadly)

David: What's wrong?

Anne: I miss my lifetime mate.

David: Stay as healthy as you can, mom.

Anne: Your father gave me seven children.

David: It hurts us all, mom.

Anne: Despite the legacy he left us with, I miss him much.

David: I don't know what more to say.

Anne: There is nothing much that you could do. I will be fine.

David: I know you will be ma.

Anne: I am talking about in that area alone.

David: Is there something you are not telling me, mom?

Anne: Son, before your father died, I was diagnosed with cancer.

David: What?

Anne: I have stage 1 pancreatic cancer.

David: Stage 1? It’s early enough to catch.

Anne: Yes, it is, son, but I am 83 years old.

David: Do the others know?

Anne: Howard was there when I got the news.

David: So, Howard knew about it and did not tell the rest of us?

Anne: Yes. I told him not to.

David: Why will you do that, ma?

Anne: I thought that it was best because of the timing.

David: (Sigh) Excuse me, mom, Delores is calling me.

Delores is one of his siblings. She is younger than David and lives in Virginia with her two daughters and her husband, John. All of the siblings call one another from time to time. David and Delores seem to have a closer bond than the rest.

David: Delores, Hey.

Delores: Hey, David. How are you?

David: Ok now. I just got off the phone with mom.

Delores: How is she?

David: Sad. She misses dad more.

Delores: Of course, that is her life partner.

David: How are the girls and the husband?

Delores: They are all fine,

David: How is Carol, Nancy, and Julie?

Delores: Fine!!!! Julie is taking it hard.

David: She was a daddy’s youngest girl.

Delores: When I heard that he was in a wheelchair, I expected it.

David: What did you say?

Delores: I mean, I am a nurse, and she is. We know the signs.

Delores: Dad was a hard worker. He sacrificed his body.

David: That is what makes his legacy so rich.

Delores: Even in a wheelchair, he was still visiting his stores.

David: I heard his employees say that.

Delores: I saw it on the news.

David: Dad did leave us with a great legacy.

Delores: Yes, mom will too.

David: You just did it again.

Delores: David, she is 83 years old without her mate.

David: Harsh reality that I have to accept.

Delores: She has stage one pancreatic cancer.

David: Oh, you know that too.

Delores: Even without it, things would have gone south.

David: Never mind that. Who wrote that obituary?

Delores: Me, why?

David: That was a great story. How did you know that?

Delores: Mom told all of us that story. Dad was stubborn.

David: Like Howard?

Delores: Like you and all of us.

David: He did not want to go into the grocery business.

Delores: Now, he is a legend.

David: Yeah, that is right.

David just got over his fathers' funeral, and now you have to worry about his mom. He stayed comfortable for the sake of his mother, but he was hurt. Delores made it clear that she did the same before the siblings hung up on one another. (Day Dreaming) On David's end, he started to reflect on the life of his dad's teenaged years. David went back to the family's general store catering to only farmers. There is nothing but somber memories there but David made them happy. Now he and his siblings are benefiting from it. They are all financially set because their great grand father took a risk. He did what his father may despise to the family business. He came home and started remembering how things all started. It all started at the Jenkins family General Store. George and his family’s store was in Warm Springs, Ga. The year was 1927.

George Sr: Well, family, the business is growing.

Annie: What do you mean?

George Sr: We are opening a store in Atlanta.

Annie: Oh, that's great. A store for the city.

George Sr: No, it's still for farmers. I know there is more money.

Annie: What?

George Sr: This is the start of a franchise.

Annie: For farmlands around the nation?

George Sr: Actually, yes. That is my audience.

George Jr. (Rolls Eyes) What a Good Idea.

George Sr: I sense sarcasm, son.

Annie: It's more people out in this world, honey.

George Sr: I know, but it's right now.

George Jr: What are you watching?

George: The chaos, but city stores will need farmers.

Annie: So that's why you're catering to them.

George Sr: Precisely, honey.

Annie: I think you should expand your audience.

George Jr: This country has needy people & they are not farmers.

George Sr: I'm also thinking of retiring there.

Annie: When?

George Sr: Next Yr. Your mother and I did our part.

Annie: How dare you decide for me? I cannot retire.

George Sr: I will sell it here, and Jr runs the Atlanta.

George Jr: I am not mom. You cannot decide for me.

George Sr: Well, I'm afraid I have to disagree with you both.

Annie: George, there is a bigger picture.

George Sr: Jr here will run it all.

George Jr: Not the way that you want it, dad.

George: It will be my way or else.

Annie: Honey, calm down.

George Sr: I am calm, honey.

Annie: No, you are not.

George Sr: I am not changing my audience

George Jr: Well, I am. You don't want me in control, dad.

George: You're right, son. You're not a great fit.

George Jr: I love the store and the people

Annie: We both know that, son.

George Jr: I feel that we could offer more to a bigger audience.

George Sr: So, what are you going to do?

George Jr: There is nothing I could do.

George Sr: Exactly.

George Jr: That includes running your Atlanta store, dad.

George Jr stood firm on the decision he made. He loved his father, but he wanted a bigger picture. Dad wanted to move to Atlanta for more than just expansion. He wanted to retire there, and the cotton fields were was more money for groceries. The great depression was on the rise, and George Sr wanted to make a move fast before it was too late. On the flip side of things, George Jr was months away from graduating high school. He decided not to move as fast as his father. Dad moved on, and he stayed behind. George Jr graduated and went to Georgia Tech for an academic degree. Jr had classes night and day while working part-time jobs. One of the assignments was delivering food for his father's store. Perfect for the business but not ideal for him. He seemed pretty strong about his ideas about the store. He does not work in the general store but often interacts with the customers. They tell him what they need, and he provides them with incredible service. Even if they do not buy anything, he does it. It is just like he works there. Due to the heavy workload, he quit school. A career in real estate seemed pretty intriguing to him. He studied and applied to become an agent for a real estate mogul. Jr and the mogul met when he walked into the general store. Jr never learned the grocery business there at the general store. He became a clerk at a local grocery store, The People’s Market, for extra money for himself

His work was so impressive that he filled the role of an ill manager. It was temporary, but it was revealing. Sadly, he figured that the grocery business is not for him. The read his customer service experience and noticed how he built relationships with people. George Jr. was offered a position as a real estate agent, and he took it. After one selling of a house, he earned a generous commission. His boss was ecstatic but knew that more was in store. More that was in South Florida. They all made plans for the trip, but his boss’s wife changed her husband's schedule. They stayed behind, and Jr decided to go alone. Along the way, Jr made rest stops. On one, he met John Hussle. The two talked, and Hussle invited him to drop in on an event in Sarasota, fl. Jr received much information before he moved on to south Florida. His sister has a home in the Tampa area, so he thought to stop by. Unfortunately, she was not home to see him. It was only her friend, and that friend introduced him to another event in Tampa, fl. Jr knew a man that owned a laundry in the same location. By this time, Jr has thoughts on getting back on the road. He and Hussle became friends, and Jr said…..

Hussle: George, there is a lot of opportunities here for you.

George Jr: Where? I have not seen any yet

Hussle: See that building right there?

George Jr: That big one there?

Hussle: Yes. You’re into real estate, right?

George Jr: Yes, I am.

Hussle: So you know who owns that land.

George Jr: No, but I could find out.

Hussle: Well, I have a better approach.

George Jr: Where are you going with this?

Hussle: You worked at The People’s Market, right?

George Jr: Yes, I did.

Hussle: So you know about the billion-dollar owner of all the chains.

George Jr: Chains?

Hussle: Yes, the chains. John Peabody owns it. .

George Jr: What? I did not know that.

Hussle: Yes, Yes, Yes.

George Jr: I wish I could meet him.

Hussle: Hes in there. Let’s go inside and meet him.

George Jr: Why in there? That’s him right there.

Hussle: Mr. Peabody (Running) Hello

Peabody: Hello, son

Hussle: It is a pleasure to meet you.

Peabody: The Pleasure is all mines.

Hussle: I ran over here because my friend here was eager to meet you.

Peabody: That’s excellent news. What’s your name, son?

George Jr: George Jenkins, sir. I used to work at one of your chains.

Peabody: Oh? Jenkins? I heard about you.

George Jr: Yes, I filled in for a manager temporarily.

Peabody: It should have been permanent. That manager passed away.

George Jr: I know. They offered me the job, but I turned it down.

Peabody: Why?

George Jr: I wanted to be a real estate agent.

Peabody: So, you moved here?

George Jr: No, I am actually on my way to South Florida.

Peabody: Vacation?

George Jr: No, a business trip. I heard real estate is better there.

Peabody: If it is not, I have a position for you in my St. Petersberg store.

George Jr: What’s that sir?

Peabody: Store manager. You’re a great fit for the grocery business.

George Jr: I maybe, but I never really thought to apply again.

Peabody: Well, for files sake, do it again. I already hired you.

George Jr: What?

Peabody: Son, you think you met me for no reason?

Hussle: You think I did not know who he was?

Peabody: Hussle set this meeting up between us. He recommended you.

George Jr: So wait, you knew him all along?

Hussle: Yes. Me and Peabody here are great friends.

Peabody: I told him what I needed a few months ago.

Hussle: I told him I could get you, and here you are.

George Jr: So what will be the position?

Peabody: I want you to manage my store in St. Petersburg.

Jr went to south Florida thinking of what Mr. Peabody told him. He called his boss and said to him that he resigned before he reached.

Jr turned around the car and headed back to Tampa. Supposedly, he was en route to head back home, but he postponed the trip to take the offer.

He kept the store neat and tidy. Mr. Peabody saw his sales increase in that area store. As a response, Jr managed the store permanently. Jr was offered the same position in Winter Haven, Fl, and he took it. For four years, he worked in that store, which was the company’s largest store. The success of the franchise could not hold off what was evident by 1930. The chain’s owner sold everything to a businessman in Atlanta, GA. At this time, Jr headed back home but not to stay. He wanted to talk to the new owner at his office. Once he arrived there, he was very disappointed. The new owner still refused to speak to him, and Jr knew that he was available. He drove back to Winter Haven and came up with a strategy. He opened his store and competed directly with the new owner. (Wakes Up) David thought about this for hours. The start-up of things inspires him and his siblings a lot. Dad was reluctant to get into the grocery business, but once he got into it again, he decided the need for it again. Amid David reminiscing, Michelle calls.

David: Hello Michelle

Michelle: Hello David

David: I did not expect a call from you this soon.

Michelle: I did not expect a job this soon either.

David: Explain, please.

Michelle: I went into a Publix store with my friend Tasha.

David: Did you do what I said and applied?

Michelle: Yes. I did that as soon as I left you earlier.

David: Did you use me as a reference?

Michelle: No

David: Why not?

Michelle: I used someone else.

David: Well, you got the job. Whoever you used helped you.

Michelle: My friend Tasha told me who to use.

David: So, what name did she tell you?

Michelle: I showed her your picture, and she said to use David Jenkins

David: What?

Michelle: So when I applied, I used that name. They called me hours later.

David: Did they give you a date to hire you?

Michelle: Yes. Instead of hiring me to be a cashier, they hired me to be a customer service manager.

David: That’s great. That shows that if you connect with the right people, great things happen.

Michelle: David, that’s great to know, but why wasn’t I told?

David: Told what?

Michelle: That your real name is David Jenkins

David tried to hide his identity, but Michelle figured it out. She also figured that David was the man that she was looking for all of these years. The two set up another golf date for the next day. It is a love story and it’s one that should inspire us all. If you have a vision go after it. Mr George decided during the Great Depression. Being big into real estate he knew that the timing was great.

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