..Lois Farley..

One Man's Decision

I work in the downtown area of a medium sized city. As with most cities, our core area is getting a little run-down and is sprinkled with empty buildings that once housed thriving shops, restaurants, movie theatres...many now having relocated to the suburban shopping malls where parking is plentiful and free, where people are less afraid of getting mugged, encountering a homeless person or being asked for money. It's so much easier to pretend it doesn't exist.

The owner of our company, however, believes that downtown is the place to be despite some of the more obvious drawbacks.

One evening, he returned to our office building to catch up on some work and discovered two teenagers spray painting grafitti on the side of our building. Most business owners would have called the police and had the boys taken in to custody. Not our guy! He took the boys names, addresses and phone numbers as collateral, then made a deal with them that they would come back and paint over the grafitti. But not just paint over their grafitti to cover it up -- he had them agree to paint the whole building (for which he would pay them a fair salary if he was satisfied with their work).

They did a fabulous job! The mural they painted was of two hands holding the world with banners of flags of the world swirling out from it. It was so eye-catching it's been featured in several magazines. And because they "signed" their work out of pride, our building has never been tagged with grafitti since.

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