Leon was convinced that the only way he could save his company was to win the contract. For the past two years things had gone from bad to worse. He’d enlisted a variety of consultants and paid them when he could. Others he bartered with for product. The barter system itself was a form of research and development – if the consultant was willing to accept the product in exchange for their services, then he knew he had a success – if they refused, well…
Lately his R & D had sent him in only one direction, and the contract for that one item was his only hope.
And time was of the essence. If he missed it this year, who knew if there’d be another chance. Consumers were fickle. What was the latest item today could be forgotten tomorrow. Leon had proof of that; three years ago he’d been on the top of the world. Then a competitor came up with a simple variation, just different enough to avoid any legal recourse, but that simple variation proved to be enough.
Now he felt that he had the perfect item that could change everything. The prototype had passed all of the tests. The focus groups had all reacted exactly as he’d hoped.
It all depended on a single meeting and a single person who alone could give their stamp of approval. That approval would mean all sorts of wheels would be set in motion. And the meeting was now only two hours away.
Two hours for Leon to worry – to go over every detail.
Leon stared so hard that he could have bored a hole in anyone who happened by. He paced the floor. He looked out the window, watching and waiting. But none of it was going to make the one-hundred-twenty minutes go by any faster.
He finally sat down and promptly fell asleep – probably, he later thought, from the exhaustion of his own anxiety.
When he awoke the next morning his prototype was gone. The meeting was supposed to be at eight o’clock the night before, and it was now eight o’clock in the morning.
Leon looked everywhere for the prototype and finally found a single sheet of paper that had obviously fallen off the table and slid under the chair where he had slept. Leon read the paper three times to be sure that he’d read it correctly. Then he read it out loud: “Well done, Leon. It will surely be a big hit. I’ll put it into production immediately at our usual rate. I expect world-wide distribution.”
Leon took a deep breath, realizing that he had succeeded and he’d won the contract that would save not only his company, but his faith in himself. But then the one person who could do so much for him always had faith in him. And as he read the signature on the bottom of the single sheet of paper he knew that his own faith had been rewarded by Santa Claus.