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Today's quote:

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Goodbye, Mr. Reid

15 Tennyson Crescent,
10th August '67.

To Whom It May Concern,

I have pleasure in informing you that Manfred Peter Gorman has been employed by the Australia and New Zealand Bank Limited for the past two years and of which I am the Canberra branch manager. This reference is given in my personal capacity.
Peter Gorman has proved to be well above average in energy, intelligence and capacity for work; his character is excellent and he has a courteous, direct manner. I am sorry he has decided to leave the bank's service.

Yours sincerely,
R.J. Reid



Quite some time ago, this septuagenarian sat down with an octogenarian who shared his migrant experience with me. Like me, he had come out to Australia but ten years earlier and from Austria, that little country next to mine. He confided in me that he was going to burn it all and leave nothing to charity. As he put it, "No one ever did me a favour!

What arrogance! I mean, we all live in this web of interdependence of family and friends, neighbours, teachers, and employers who exerted influence over us and did us favours for which we owe them gratitude.

There is no one I owe a greater gratitude to than Mr Robert Reid, ANZ Bank's Canberra manager, who in 1965 gave me my first real job in a new country, even though he couldn't read a word of what was written in my German references, and neither could I speak any more English.




And he gave me what, in the dull and dusty banking world, amounted to a glowing reference when I resigned from the bank just two years later to return to the (c)old country as I wasn't quite sure yet that Australia was to become my new home and I was to become a New Australian.

Fourteen months later, after just nine months in the "Vaterland" and another five in South-West Africa to earn my passage money back to Australia, I was in Canberra again where Mr Reid rehired me right away.

He went out on a limb for me when he hired me as a youngster, fresh off the boat from Germany and with very limited English; he went out on a limb for me when he gave me that glowing personal reference despite the bank's policy to only ever issue a meaningless 'Certificate of Service'; and he went out on a limb for me when he overruled the bank's policy never to re-employ a previous employee and hired me again.

Was it ingratitude that made me leave the bank's service again before the year was not? Not at all! It's just that when you're young and penniless, you can't afford to be sentimental, and so I was off to New Guinea to seek out a more promising career in chartered accounting.




It's too late for me now to express the immense gratitude I feel towards Mr. Reid, but over the past fifty years I've thought often and with great respect and affection of him, and what better immortality could a man hope for than to have been respected and loved by his fellow-man.

I never said 'goodbye' properly when I left the bank. Goodbye, Mr. Reid.

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