Wrapped gift
Stefano Mortellaro/Flickr

Gayle thought while growing up that a husband and kids would be the focus of her life. She believed she would have a career, but it would only play a minor part in her life.As she prepared to retire, however, she could see her life had been very different. She was a successful family lawyer, had done some trust work and volunteer legal work for the arts, and later became an entertainment lawyer. Now her nationwide firm wanted to recognize her achievements, although she had never made or wanted senior partner status.

“We are going to miss you. What would you like as a farewell gift?” she was asked. “How about a trip? We’d also pay for a friend or two.”

Some of Gayle’s closest friends were right there at the firm. Two of them, John, 19, and Paul, 21, had no family responsibilities. They were foreigners.

Gayle wasn’t interested in a trip. But as she thought about it, maybe a couple of days in New York City might be fun.

“Well, what about a trip from here in LA back East to New York for John, Paul and me?”

“Good, and we’ll spring for shopping and entertainment, too,” the senior partner said.

They were good workers who had decided not to become paralegals, but to seek to become attorneys after taking whatever college credits were necessary. The firm would contribute toward their education costs and surely hire them, if they applied to practice there.

The only thing that remained was for Gayle to check with them and see if they wanted to go. Their friendship started mainly because Gayle had represented friends of theirs from time-to-time, many who could pay nothing or very little. Moreover, she had fortified ber school  courses at Berlitz, and was bilingual.

She saw them in the library, dusting books, and said, “I’d like it if you two would join me on an all-expenses paid vacation the firm is giving me for my retirement!”

“Sure,” they agreed.

Plans for the trip were confirmed later that day, and four weeks later, after Gayle’s final day and a little party there, the group left. The guys had been told they would get paid vacation time, too. So, they were off for ten days.