You read the headline on March 11th 1960 of the Cuban Press out loud in the strongest voice you could, trying not to show weakness. “US refuses to buy Cuban sugar.” Enraged, you throw the newspaper all the way across the oak table you received as a wedding present from your mother. You turn to you wife, and although you try not to cry, you start to tear up. You both knew at that moment what was going to happen to you, your family, and your company. You thought about how you would have to live on the streets, and how your baby wouldn’t be able to live the perfect life you want her to grow up in. You also thought about all the lives that are now ruined because you can’t pay your employees. You knew you would have to sell your sugar plantation and let go of your business. That night you went to bed, but you couldn’t get any sleep. All you could think about was facing your employees tomorrow and what you would say when letting them go. The next day you arrive and work with your two hundred and twenty-four employees in your large green office, making it look like a closet with little space. You kept going over what you were going to say. As you thought to yourself, “Maybe I’ll tell then it’s all my fault, I am the largest sugar plantation and I should have been a better business man.” You didn’t want to be rude but I think telling them that there’s nothing you could do and that they would all need to find new jobs. After a long, uncomfortable silence, you murmured the word “Well.” But it sounded more like “lllllllllll.” Your office exploded, everyone but Quincy was yelling with anger, and rage. A group of workers in the front tried to jump over your desk and attack you. Luckily you got to your closet fast enough to open the door and lock yourself in. As you listened to the banging on the door and the yelling you realized you have Quincy’s cell phone number, so you called him. He answered, and you told him to calm everyone down so you could come out of the closest and feel safe. As he was calming everyone down a fight broke out between two of your workers and one of them got knocked out. The other workers moved him to the wall and then calmed down. Once you were out of the closest and ready to address your workers, Quincy came to your desk and stood next to you for moral support. You thought about how saying “Well” wasn’t going to keep them calm. You knew that at that moment you had to say the most life changing statement of their lives. Once you said, “I’m sorry. You people are some of the most motivated workers that have ever worked for me. You have families and lives that you have to work for and I don’t think this little bump in the road will change where you’ll be in five or ten years. Cause you’ll still be with you families. Having fun, and loving each other. No matter what happens.” As you thought about how that statement, right there, that you just said to two hundred and twenty-four people that would change their lives forever. You still hadn’t officially told them if they were fired or not. You couldn’t tell whether the anger level in the room was low enough for you to bring up that they were all fired. You couldn’t tell whether they were all thinking about what you just said and thinking about what their lives would be like in five or ten years. Or, if they were enraged by your statement and were just letting the anger build inside of them before they all try and crawl over your desk again and force you into the closet. As you looked around at the faces of your workers, finally turning to Quincy. You realized he had the most distraught face out of all the people in the room. He looked like he was just told the worst news in the world. He looked like he was going to start crying. You didn’t know what to do. You thought about him and what information about his life you’d gathered through the last couple of years he’s worked for you. You thought about how he was a great worker. And then you remembered, his family died during the ousting of Batista on July 26, 1953. You then told everyone but Quincy that they were fired. You didn’t have the guts to tell him he was fired. After everyone left your office you sat down with Quincy at your desk and called your wife to ask if Quincy could live with you until he could find a new job. She explained how she would happily make up the guest bedroom and make some lunch while she waited for their arrival.
Quincy is a Funny Name
April 10, 2012