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Man in a wheelchair is being pushed | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe
Man in a wheelchair is being pushed | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

Job Seeker Mocks Man in Wheelchair, Unaware Who He Really Is — Story of the Day

Roshanak Hannani
May 30, 2024
09:46 A.M.

Marketing "high-flyer" Daniel's unchecked ambition leads him to demean wheelchair-bound Michael, who he assumes is a rival job candidate during a corporate interview. This act sets the stage for a transformative showdown, highlighting the real value of empathy and integrity in leadership.

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The lobby of the corporate building buzzed with energy. Daniel was confident and sharply dressed as he navigated the crowd, seeing himself as a future CEO. He only had to climb the corporate ladder. When he saw a man, Michael, in a wheelchair, he quickly dismissed him. He wasn't competition for him.

As Daniel reached the elevator, he noticed the man heading toward it too. "I don't think we can all fit, you know. Maybe you should wait for the next one," Daniel said, his voice dripping with condescension.

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

Michael responded calmly, "I believe we can manage. I just need to get to my office on time, just like you. Where are you guys headed?"

Miles, a recent graduate, and Robby, a seasoned marketer, shared they were interviewing at MakerMax. Daniel smirked, "MakerMax, huh? Well, good luck to you both," waving them off.

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Michael’s reply was steady, "MakerMax, you say? What a coincidence. I’m heading there myself."

Daniel was shocked, but he retorted, "Is that so?" Suddenly, he blocked Michael’s path."The elevator is full. Why don't you just wait for the next one?" he added.

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

"Full? How so? I have the same right to be here and to use this elevator as anyone else," Michael wondered, frowning.

"It's not about rights; it's about practicality. And frankly, your insistence is becoming an inconvenience," Daniel rolled his eyes.

"Inconvenience? I'm merely trying to get to MakerMax, the same as you. Is it my presence that you find inconvenient?"

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"This is the real world, where first impressions matter. And frankly, holding everyone up isn't the best start," Daniel smirked.

Michael replied, "First impressions, yes. And what impression do you think you're leaving right now?"

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

Daniel finally got tired of Michael's attitude. He fully blocked the elevator and said, "This discussion is over. You're waiting for the next one. This is the real world, where the strongest win. You're not getting this job anyway. I am."

With a casual yet calculated push, Daniel moved Michael away from the elevator and led the others inside, leaving the man behind. He saw Michael's eyes squinting as the doors closed.

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The elevator ride was tense. Miles broke the silence. “You didn’t have to do that, you know,” he said, pursing his lips.

“Do what?" Daniel shrugged. "I did nothing wrong. The elevator was too crowded.”

Miles countered, questioning the necessity of Daniel’s actions, but Daniel dismissed the critique, telling him that people needed to seize every opportunity to get ahead.

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

Upon reaching their floor, Daniel had another idea and quickly used a potted plant to keep the elevator doors open. This made the others uncomfortable, but they remained silent.

Meanwhile, Michael remained in the lobby, waiting for the elevator. It took a long time...

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***

In MakerMax's waiting area, Daniel continued to dominate the conversation, criticizing those he perceived as expecting special treatment. Robby was caught in the discussion but offered only a non-committal nod, his discomfort apparent.

Daniel interpreted the silence as agreement and emphasized the importance of readiness and resilience in a competitive environment. The atmosphere grew tenser the more Daniel talked.

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

When Miles returned from his interview, Daniel quickly interrogated him about the experience. Miles shared that the company valued personal character and teamwork, not just professional achievements, and explained a more comprehensive evaluation process involving a second interview with the CEO.

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Daniel was taken aback by the emphasis on character and team dynamics, so he began to reconsider his approach, recognizing that his earlier behavior might affect his chances, especially with the CEO’s direct involvement in the hiring process.

As Miles left for coffee, Daniel tuned to Robby and suggested, "Listen, given their focus on character, maybe we could help each other out with references? You know, stress how we're team players, good with people."

Robby leaned in, interested. "That could work. They'll want examples, though, of how we've demonstrated those traits."

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

Daniel agreed, relieved. "Absolutely. Today was just a high-pressure situation. Normally, I value teamwork and respect."

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They shook hands, agreeing to showcase these qualities. Daniel just hoped no one would mention what happened with the guy in his wheelchair.

Speak of the Devil…this was my chance, Daniel thought as Michael had just entered the waiting area. Daniel stood and approached him, ready to act. "I just wanted to apologize for earlier in the lobby. It was out of line, and I was wrong," he said, but anyone could tell he wasn't being sincere.

Still, Michael accepted it. "Thank you. We all have moments of regret. The important thing is to learn and improve."

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

Daniel suggested, "How about a coffee? There's a delay with the interviews, and it’s on the house."

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Michael agreed, and as they headed to the café, Daniel plotted, misinterpreting Michael's acceptance as an opportunity to dominate. He couldn't take any chances and didn't want Michael to have a chance to tell the recruiters what he'd done in the elevator.

With a swift move, he pushed Michael into the walk-in fridge at the café and locked him in, ignoring the man's protests.

***

In the interview room, Daniel met Isabelle, the HR specialist, who wanted to know more about his past. "Good morning, Daniel. Let's delve into your experience. Could you share some highlights of your marketing achievements?"

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

Daniel detailed his successes confidently. "In my previous role, I spearheaded a project that boosted our market share by 25%," he explained, describing his innovative strategies and risk management methods.

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Isabelle asked about his handling of workplace challenges. Daniel offered a story, but Isabelle probed deeper into its impact on his team. Everything seemingly went well, but the HR specialist mentioned a final round with the CEO.

Daniel licked his lips, nervously waiting. His jaw dropped when Isabelle returned, talking to Michael. She introduced him as the CEO, and Daniel's face lost all bit of color.

"Sir," Daniel stammered, scrambling to find the right words. "I—I had no idea. I'm so sorry for my behavior earlier. It was completely unacceptable, and I deeply regret it."

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

Michael's gaze bore into Daniel. "I'm afraid 'sorry' isn't going to cut it this time," he said, his voice firm. "Your behavior towards me was not only disrespectful but indicative of a larger problem—a problem of entitlement and arrogance that has no place in this company."

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Daniel accepted responsibility, promising to change. But his confidence wavered as Michael spoke about the company's values of inclusivity and respect. "Every individual deserves to be treated with dignity," the CEO stated, still firm.

Daniel hung his head as he realized his competitive nature had blinded him to the true meaning of strength. "I didn't realize," he confessed, his arrogance fading under Michael's steady gaze.

"True strength isn't about stepping on others. It's about helping them rise with you." His words struck a chord.

"I never thought of it that way," Daniel responded, his voice sounding gruff.

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

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Michael leaned forward, his eyes earnest. "Let me share something with you," he began, his voice carrying the weight of experience. "There was a time when I faced challenges that seemed insurmountable. But it was through understanding the struggles of those around me, that I found the strength to persevere."

Daniel nodded. "I'm terribly sorry. I was wrong."

"It's never too late to learn. And I believe that you have the potential to make a positive impact, both in your career and in the lives of those around you," Michael said.

Daniel sighed heavily, nodding. "Thank you, I don't deserve these kind words from you. In my pursuit of success, I overlooked what really matters."

After what felt like a lifetime lesson in humility, where they also talked about Daniel's actual good points careerwise, Michael came to a decision. "I can't offer you the job," he stated clearly. "You need to learn the value of dignity and respect, and sometimes that comes from facing the repercussions of our actions."

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

For illustration purposes only | Source: YouTube/DramatizeMe

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Daniel nodded, accepting the decision. He stood and said, "Thank you, Michael. This conversation has been a turning point for me."

Michael shook Daniel's hand and watched the now-rejected job applicant walk away. As Daniel left, he felt a renewed readiness to meet the broader challenges of life, equipped to change thanks to his new deeper understanding of leadership and personal growth.

Tell us what you think about this story, and share it with your friends. It might inspire them.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a casting director who shames a Black musician but went on to earn his comeuppance.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone's life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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