I was consulting a sales organization in Fairfield, New Jersey and the phone call came that my client’s payroll account had been frozen.  It was Friday morning and all the payroll checks would bounce by the following Monday.

I called the Internal Revenue agent and we talked for a while; and, I could not get a release.  I even begged!  I then got into a Ford Pinto (a hatchback, no less) and drove to New Haven, Connecticut where my client’s receivables were financed (I hoped to talk him into releasing some of his reserve so that I could wire it to the IRS).  It was a lonely drive, full of anxiety and “if you don’t get a release, their employees’ payroll checks will bounce….”  It’s funny sometimes when you are a consultant; even though it is not your fault, you feel like it’s your fault!

The Financier’s name was also “Tom” and I tried to use that to my advantage…no luck.  But we did like each other and he respected what I was trying to do (help my client stay in business!).  I could not get him to advance any funds to satisfy the IRS; and, so I got on the phone with the IRS agent and we talked “a while longer”. …to no avail.  And, then, I lost it…I started crying.

And, then…. the strangest thing happened.  “Tom,” the Financier took the phone out of my hand and started yelling at the IRS agent:  “you’ve done it now…you’ve done it now….you’ve made a grown man cry.”

There is an end to the story and it is a good one:  “the IRS agent released the hold on the payroll account and the company lived happily ever after!”  But, frankly, I don’t remember why the IRS agent released the funds…whether because the Financier sent him money or he gave my client another day to solve its problems.  I do remember “Tom” patting me on the head and saying, “it’s going to be ok….he’s going to release the hold on the payroll account.” 

Have a good weekend.