My 34976349th attempt at a short tale.
Sir returned to his cubicle with a box full of shirts. The shirts were to be distributed to his team of 40 people who had met their targets much before the final deadline. He removed one shirt from the box. It was an Oxford blue, collared, full-sleeved shirt. It had his company’s name and his team’s name embroidered above the breast pocket. He nonchalantly slid the shirt back into the box, having already received numerous such mementos in his short stint at his office so far.
He finished distributing 30 shirts, his other team members being either on vacation or in meetings.
He left the remaining 10 shirts in his cubicle, picked his shirt and started climbing down the stairs. On the 3rd floor, he spotted the old man sitting next to the coffee vending machine. The old man was deaf and visibly poor. Sir looked at the shirt in his hand and thought he could do without it. He walked up to the old man, who by now had stood up adjusting his clothes and hair. He gave the shirt to the old man and the old man beamed a wide smile. The shirt might be a little loose for the old man, but what the heck atleast it was a new shirt.
Happy with his good deed for the day, he walked off to the car park. The old man was happy with this great gesture and act of benevolence. He decided to wear this shirt the next day and show it to that Sir who had been so charitable towards him.
Next day, the old man wore the shirt with pride and sat next to the coffee vending machine. His revered Sir walked up the stairs, spotted him and gave him a smile. Being happy that the old man had worn his work of charity, he walked to his cubicle and switched on his PC. He found that out of the ten shirts, only nine were remaining. One was stolen. In a fit of disgust, he called up his security head and informed him about this. The security head walked up towards his floor and spotted the old man wearing the shirt. The security head knew he had found his man. He took the old man to Sir.
Sir knew that if anyone came to know he had given his shirt to the old man, it would tarnish his reputation and it would be seen as though he didn’t value the company’s gift.
He hesitated to acknowledge that the shirt was given by him to the old man. Sir had to secure his own reputation after all. Sir needed this job and the fat salary. The old man, he was quite sure, was used to poverty.
Sir just looked at his PC and pretended to read e-mails and dismissed the security head and the old man.
The security head, after all, was a man with a soft heart. He didn’t want to be harsh on the old man and hence, without making any scene, asked the old man to leave.
The old man never understood why he was forced out of his job. He blamed it on fate. But he was extremely grateful to have come across someone like Sir who had gifted him this nice blue shirt. God, for him, was indeed great.
Sir, on the other hand, never could drink coffee for the rest of his life. Sir never wore a blue shirt either.