In December 2002 just before the holidays, 48-year-old Alice wandered into a Tennessee investment office where Michael worked as a broker and told him she had an account with the company. Based on her disheveled appearance, Michael assumed that Alice was homeless. But rather than escort her out the door, he offered her a seat at his desk. He wanted to help her.
Michael asked Alice a few questions. Her answers were vague; she focused on her belief that she had invested money at his company, perhaps through an out-of-state branch. When Michael and another employee offered her money, Alice politely refused it, insisting that she was a client and not a charity case.
On the slim chance that Alice’s story was true, Michael phoned the firm’s Atlanta office where a colleague confirmed that Alice did, in fact, hold an account with the company. But the most astonishing news was yet to come.
The Atlanta office had maintained contact with Alice’s family and revealed that eight years earlier, Alice had suffered a breakdown and disappeared. Her family had been trying to locate her ever since.
The next day, Alice Perley was off the streets and reunited with her family, thanks to an investment broker who took the time to really listen to her. Michael’s take on it? “We’re supposed to help one another and not just walk on by – aren’t we?”
Michael could have sent her on her way; instead he helped her on her way. Here’s to the heroes in all walks of life!