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The story of a basket of fruit and what really counts.

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He got his secretary to send me a basket of fruit!

Bowl of fruit by

I was making a courtesy call on the training department of a company I had done some training for a year or so before when one of the attendees of that training came out of the factory and saw me. He was an employee with 20 plus years of service to the company.

Koos (not his real name) came over and greeted me enthusiastically and launched into his story. It turned out he had had a cardiac episode and had ended up in the local hospital for some weeks while they carried out the necessary repairs.

Hospital scene picture by Mufud Majnun @ Unsplash

The hospital was along a road that ran from the factory to the residential area where most of the senior managers of the company lived. During the time Koos was in the hospital family, friends, and work colleagues came and visited him. But said Koos with great indignation “My manager never visited me once – he got his secretary to send me a basket of fruit”.

I sympathised with Koos and went on my way.

Hospital visit picture by Tom Grill @ Getty Images


Some while later I was training a team from a large corporate. Attendees included people at various levels with three fairly senior managers in the group.

I told the story of Koos on a no-names-no-pack-drill basis. The next morning the three senior managers were missing until just before the morning tea-break. This in a company where being on time was valued – as was attending training.

During the tea-break the most senior manager came up to me and apologised “We were visiting someone in hospital” he said,