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UK 2021.01.04

That was the question asked by a company officer in Tokyo, Japan, to a young job applicant. That happened around thirty years ago. ‘No, never…’, answered the young man.

‘So, do that and come back tomorrow at the same time’, the officer said.

‘Yes, sir’, said the young man.

The young man´s father had passed when he was still a little boy, and his mother, working day and night, was able to support him until he graduated in university. ‘Whenever she returns from work, I shall volunteer to wash her feet’, he wondered as he filled the bowl with water. 

‘Why, I am still capable of cleaning myself!’, the mother said as she arrived. However, as she heard the son´s reasons, she ended up agreeing and sat on the chair.

‘Put them here’, the young man asked, and with his left hand, he held on of his mother´s feet. However, the right hand, in charge of rubbing, remained immobile. 

Then, the boy held the mother´s feet and mourned. 

‘They are so stiffened, mother…they seem to be made of wood. When I studied at university, I never valued the money I received from you. For me, it was a natural thing, a parental obligation, something obvious. I did not know I was the fruit of such a huge sacrifice’, he let go in tears. 

The next day, the young man said to the officer: ‘Thanks to this company hiring process, I found out how huge is the gratitude debt we owe to our parents. That cannot be learnt in any school. Thank you so much!’

Buddhist philosophy professor, author, content editor and president of ITIMAN. International director of Ichimannendo Publishing Co. Ltd. - Tokyo, Japan.

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