I met a Quebecois (i.e. French Canadian… a family connection) through my travels in Vietnam. With his long silver ponytail, kind heart and a joke always ready to be told, Gilles drives around the crazy streets of Hanoi on his red motorbike. The Vietnamese smile conquered his heart nearly two decades ago and he’s been happily living in the hustle bustle of the capital city ever since.
As we were having a chat and a beer at a local bar, I asked him if he had sold his company (a very large construction company with contracts in various countries around the world) before moving to Vietnam. His answer to me started with a smile and a ‘you won’t believe me’.
The people working in the company when he left had been with him for 20 years… so he gave them the business.
With my eyes wide open and a surprised smile, I told him it was a very generous gesture. It wasn’t generous, he said, just the normal thing to do as the company wasn’t ‘his’… it belonged to the people who had helped building it.
THAT, my friends, is the response of a true leader at heart. Inspiring.