Underdogs should not be underestimated

One day, as they were driving back to their office after a visit to their customer’s factory, a Sales Executive told his General Manager that he had noticed that the GM spoke equally politely with all persons, from the Managing Director down to a janitor whom he happened to speak with. This was extremely unusual, especially in India. He asked the GM if he was equally polite to all persons in personal life as well, or whether his politeness at the customer’s factory was a part of his salesmanship.

The GM replied that it was not salesmanship. As a child, he had been brought up to be polite to all people. As he grew up, he was inspired by the story ‘The Verger’ by W. Somerset Maugham and by the real-life examples of people like industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani and film actor Rajinikanth, both of whom had grown from very modest beginnings to reach the pinnacle of their respective professions. He added, “It is only an accident of birth that we have been born in families that could provide us with a comfortable lifestyle and a good education. So, let’s not underestimate or look down upon a petrol bunk employee, who might well turn out to be another Dhirubhai Ambani, or a bus conductor, who might well turn out to be another Rajinikanth!”