PureInsight | March 9, 2008
[PureInsight.org] He was
originally from a farm in the mountains to the south of Rome, Italy. I
had no idea when he came to the United States. One day, I saw him
standing on my driveway, "I'd like to mow the lawn for you." he said.
I asked for his name. "Tony Tavincino," he answered, "I would like to
mow the lawn for you." But I told him I couldn't afford a gardener. "I
would like to mow the lawn for you." He repeated and left. I went
inside, feeling upset.
During the economic depression in the 1930s, everyone was having
financial difficulties. How could I turn down someone asking for my
help? The next day, when I came home from work, I saw the lawn was
mowed and the garden was weeded. I asked my wife what had happened.
"A man took the lawn mower from the garage and started working," she
said, "I thought you hired him." I told her about Tony. She and I were
both surprised that Tony didn't ask for payment.
I was very busy in the following days and forgot about Tony. In the
factory where I worked, veteran workers were wanted. I came home early
on Friday, and saw Tony standing on the driveway, "I would like to mow
the lawn for you," he said.
I paid Tony a very small wage every week, but he came to work in the
garden every day and did a very nice job. My wife praised him,
"Whenever something needs to be fixed or carried, he does it without
The summer ended and the fall came, and the wind became chillier and
chillier. "Mr. Clown, it's going to snow soon." On night Tony asked me,
"The winter is coming. Can I remove the snow at your factory?" All
right, what can you say to a request like that? He got the job. A few
months later, I asked human resources about Tony and they told me he
was a good worker.
One day I saw Tony standing on my driveway. "I'd like to become an apprentice." he said.
There was a decent training facility in the factory, but I doubted
whether Tony would understand the blueprints, know how to use a
micrometer correctly, or do delicate tasks. But how could I refuse him?
A few months later, someone reported to me that, Tony had become a
skilled grinding machine operator.
Two years later, I saw Tony standing at the same place. We talked about
his job, and I asked him what he wanted. "Mr. Clown, I would like to
buy a house." He had found a very old house for sale on the edge of
I called a banker friend, "Have you ever given loan based solely on reputation?"
"No," he said, "I don't want to take the risk."
"But wait," I said, "I can guarantee this person to you. He has a job and he will pay your money and interest back."
In the end, Tony obtained a $2000 mortgage and bought the house. From
then on, he would take any waste such as old screen doors, metal or
cartons to his home as soon as he saw them.
About two years later, I saw Tony standing at the same place again. He
was standing very straight. He had gained a little weight and was very
confident, "Mr. Clown, I sold the house and earned $8000."
I was very surprised, "But Tony, where do you live if you have sold your house?" "Mr. Clown, I bought a farm."
We sat down and chatted. Tony told me it was his dream to own a farm.
He told me that he liked vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers,
because of his Italian appetite, and that he had moved his wife and
children from Italy to America and now they all lived together on the
Before long, on a Saturday afternoon, Tony dressed up to see me. Following him was another Italian man.
It was his childhood friend. Tony had persuaded him to come to America
and sponsored him. When they approached the farm, his friend exclaimed,
"Tony, you're a millionaire!" During the World War II, I heard Tony had
passed away. I sent an employee to his farm to see if everything was
OK. The employee saw green vegetables in the field, neat houses, trucks
and tractors in the yard. He saw the children were receiving good
educations and Tony was not in debt.
I thought a lot. Tony has taken a place in my mind. He was as great as
those big businessmen. He had gained success with the same method and
principles: insight, perseverance, optimism, self-control, self-esteem,
and, most importantly, honesty.