It was to be 21 year old Jenny Stevens first day at work. She had graduated as a Secretary following a two year course at the Secretarial College a few months ago. Her dream had finally been fulfilled, well, partly at least. She still had to find a job. She had filed several applications for secretarial job vacancies appearing in the papers. But she received no feed-back. As the days passed into weeks and the weeks into months, she began to lose heart. Her dream would not be fulfilled after all. In her depressive mood Jenny lamented with her Mum – “Don’t you think that life is strange Mum? I had studied so hard, obtained my certificate, yet I am being turned down everywhere!”
Her Mum sympathized with her daughter, especially knowing the sacrifices she had endured to qualify. “Life is full of surprises my dear. One can never be sure of anything in this world. It is wise to take each day as it comes. But your day will come.”
It was some days later that she noticed an advert for a secretary with Johnson’s Import & Export Company Ltd. She put her application immediately but with not many expectations. She was however surprised and jubilant when they requested her to call at their offices for an interview.
On her way for her first day at work at Johnson’s she recalled when she had sat for the interview. She had faced the three partners of the Company who asked her many questions and observed her closely to assess her suitability for the post. The older man, the Chairman of the Company, appeared not to favour her very much.
He had told her that they would prefer an older girl with experience rather than a young one who was after her first job. He could not be blunter than that! But Jenny got the job nevertheless. As Secretary to Mr. Johnson himself, the Chairman of the Company! Apparently, on the insistence of the other directors, it was agreed that she be given a chance to prove herself. She was determined to prove Mr. Johnson wrong and the other partners right. On this, her first day at the office therefore, she wanted to give a very good impression of herself, especially to Mr. Johnson – dress her best, hair in place, arrive early. She took out her car from the garage and, to avoid the early morning traffic, headed for the ring road from where she would take the one leading directly to the company offices. It was normally a three-quarter of an hour trip.
But half way down the motorway she saw what appeared at first glance to be an accident of sort – a stationery car on the wayside and a woman with her head slumped on the steering wheel. She stopped immediately and went to her aid. She opened the car door, looked at the woman, an elderly one, and saw that she was unconscious. She felt her pulse. It was not beating. Her heart must have stopped. Without losing any time, she phoned emergency to the ambulance services and the Police. Then she laid the well-dressed woman on the ground and commenced to give her mouth-to-mouth artificial respiration. She had a life-saving certificate from her girl guides days and knew what to do in such circumstances.
Jenny repeated the process at intervals, trying with all her will power to breathe life into the lungs of the unfortunate woman. It was a trying process but she continued without losing heart. Time was of utmost importance. It was a question of life and death.
Then, when she was about to stop, she felt the woman’s chest heave. She was coming to. Her heart started beating again, slowly at first and then more rapidly.
Some cars had by now stopped, their drivers looking at the scene and offered their help. But Jenny was now in control of the situation. Then the Ambulance and the Police cars screeched to a halt beside her. Out came the paramedics with the stretcher. She explained to both Police and paramedics what had happened. The paramedics told her that her immediate response in giving her artificial respiration had definitely saved the woman’s life. Then they transferred the woman to the ambulance and sped to the nearest hospital. The Police then took Jenny’s personal details for their report. Still in a state of shock, she went back to her car, rested for a few minutes, arranged her hair in the car mirror, dusted down her clothes, started the car and continued her journey to the office.
Her first day. And what a day!! She looked at her watch. It was now 10 am. She would be more than an hour late at least. What would Mr. Johnson say? She expected to be given a dressing- down at least or be fired on the spot. She worried what fate awaited her.
She arrived at the office breathless, saw the receptionist busy on the telephone, murmured “Good Morning” and sat down on a chair waiting for her to finish the call. When the receptionist hang down the phone, Jenny informed her that she was the new Secretary to the Chairman, apologized for being late as she had met a car accident on the way and enquired whether Mr. Johnson had asked for her. The receptionist welcomed her to the office but told her that Mr. Johnson had not arrived yet. Jenny felt relief. Thank the Lord! Mr. Johnson would find her at her desk when he arrives and he would be none the wiser that she came late. The receptionist looked at her, saw her somewhat disheveled and informed her that she could use the bathroom if she wished. Jenny grasped the opportunity with both hands. She definitely needed to put on some make-up and do her hair properly. When she came out of the bathroom, the receptionist accompanied her to her office and made her a cup of tea. Jenny looked at the office, it seemed nice and comfortable. But would she be here tomorrow?
An hour later she heard Mr. Johnson come in and head straight to his office. He buzzed her immediately and Jenny entered his office. With a smile on her face she murmured – “Good morning Mr. Johnson” The Chairman looked somewhat agitated. He told her that he was delayed because his wife had been admitted to hospital earlier this morning but is now well and should be discharged later this morning.
“Miss Stevens”, he continued, “Contact the Police and get the details of the young woman who apparently gave my wife artificial respiration while she was unconscious in her car on the ring road. We are both indebted to her and wish to meet her and thank her personally for saving my wife’s life!”