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Today's quote:

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Rest in Peace, Mr Reid

Robert Lauder REID 1910 - (22 Jan) 1996
Devoted Husband of Elsie. Father of Beth Ann and Margaret


I once knew an old curmudgeon in the Bay - a German migrant like me - who confided, halfway through a bottle of wine I had paid for, that, when his time came, he would burn everything instead of giving it away. "No one ever gave me anything", he complained.

"What about the immigration officer who approved your visa to come to this wonderful country?" I felt like asking, or "What about the bloke who gave you your first job while you were still trying to form a credible 'th' sound and to differentiate the 'v' from the 'w'?" But I didn't say any of this; instead, we just parted company and I haven't seen him since.

Unlike him, I am full of gratitude to people who gave me a helping hand on the rocky road of life, and there was none greater than Mr Robert Reid, manager of the Australia & New Zealand Bank, who gave me my first proper job just months after I'd stepped off the boat during which I had kept my head above water, first as a 'Trainee Manager' with Coles in Melbourne, and then as truckdriver for a hardware store in Canberra.

I had answered a job advertisement in the 'Canberra Times' offering school-leavers (m.) a career in banking, with the (m.) standing for 'male' in those days before equal opportunities. Not that I knew that then, nor how to apply properly because I seem to remember that I replied on an aerogramme (remember 10 penny aerogrammes, those thin lightweight pieces of foldable and gummed paper for writing a letter for transit via airmail, in which the letter and envelope were one and the same?)



It must've set the tone for the interview because he was neither put off by my struggling English nor my references which were all in German (although his chauffeur Kevin Spielman who was Austrian may have had something to do with it, as he would have translated them for him).

Mr Reid not only gave me the job which allowed me to study towards a diploma with the Bankers' Institute but also a favourable reference ...


The Bank did not give references but merely 'Certificates of Service' but Mr Reid did


... which ultimately led to a career in chartered accounting. I have sometimes wondered if I might not still be driving a truck through Canberra had it not been for the kindness of this wonderful man.

A pilgrimage to his last resting place was the least I could do to give thanks to a man who gave me the biggest helping hand in my life.



May you rest in peace, Mr Reid! Your kindness has never been forgotten.

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