It was about noon on a Friday, sometime late in the summer, in Fairfield, New Jersey.  In the auditorium, there were over 150 sales persons singing songs about their company and the products that they sold.  It was almost cult-like (one of the executives after playing my cassette of “The Eyes of Texas”… turned to me and said, “Irwin…what in the hell is this…..”working on the railroad?”). 

I was in the office and an electric company guy came in and asked for me.  Turning to him and introducing myself, he then told me he was there to turn off the lights because my client had not paid the electric bill….I think they were three months delinquent.   I asked for the electric company’s phone number and talked to the billing office.  I knew we did not have the money to pay them.  I asked for time and the lady said “no.”  I explained that there were salespersons in the auditorium and if the electricity was turned off, the salespersons would probably quit.  She said she was sorry but without a check brought to the office….right now….there would not be any electricity.  I thought about giving her a hot check but that never really works, it just creates other issues….like district attorneys and future payments will be cashier checks, etc. (today it would be wire transfers).

With a deep sigh, I turned to the “electric man” and asked him to leave without turning off the lights.  He apologized and walked out of the room to the electric box.  I followed.  When he got to the handle to unlock it and turn it off….we looked at each other.   He paused…smiled….put his key back in his pocket and walked out the door without turning off the electricity and without saying anything.  I said thank you as he walked out the door.

In my opinion, the electric man was a brave and caring soul.  He knew he was dealing with more than an electric bill.