The Samozzas – Rags to riches story of the humble street vendor

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Harry’s father was getting old. Selling Samosashe could just make enough to make the ends meetHarry was desperately looking for a job. He noticed an advertisement on a job site.

A small but growing IT start-up, Mesh Solutions, was looking for a data entry clerk. Harry applied for the job and was selected for an interview. He reached in time for the interview and patiently waited for his turn.

He had learned enough about computers at school, and his language grasp was good. Not only did he know English, but he also knew the Hindi keyboard very well.

The interview went very well. Harry was selected. The panel congratulated and asked him to bring his laptop the next day to the office. The start-up followed BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. It allowed them to save on laptop costs.

But Harry didn’t own a computer or a laptop. He did all the internet surfing on his phone.

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He requested the HR manager, “Sir, I am the son of a street vendor who sells samosas. The best my father could do was to educate me.

How could I ever ask him for more? I don’t have a laptop, but I promise you, I’ll buy one with my first salary. Trust me, sir, if you give me a chance, I will prove myself.

The manager presented his case to Prats, the owner of the start-up.

If he doesn’t have a laptop, then he can’t get this job. This is an IT firm. Now, please don’t waste my time on such stupid cases. Our policies cannot change for poor people.” Prats replied.

The manager conveyed Prats’ answer to Harry, and the company selected someone else.

Harry felt dejected and continued with his job search. Meanwhile, his father fell ill. There was a financial crunch in the family. Harry chipped in. He started selling Samosas until his dad could return to work.

One day, while he was waiting for customers to buy samosas, it hit him how difficult his father’s job was.

The scorching heat and humidity topped with few customers compelled Harry to think. He wanted to find a viable solution so that his father’s job could be more comfortable and more rewarding.

That night, he thought for some time and concluded that there were two major factors. The first one was fewer customers at the location. The second factor was waning interest in the traditional food item.

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The next day he traveled the extra mile near a college in the evening. There were many students there. As expected, he sold the stock of samosas within a few hours. He started doing this every day.

After a month, Harry came up with another great idea. He loved Pizzas. He started experimenting with a new dish. After 3 months of effort, he added a unique dish, ‘Samosa pizza’ to the menu. He started calling it Samozza. It was a unique mix of Indian and Italian specialty.

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He could see the curious faces of people, especially students when they heard about this new food. He ran a promotion and gave 50 pieces of Samozza free to customers on the first day.

People liked this new snack so much that Harry became The Samozza guy in the town. It was a hit. People from various locations in the city would come to eat his Samozzas.

From a street vendor, Harry progressed to owning a food stall in the same area. With more space, he started selling hundreds of Samozzas every day. He employed two people and trained them to work for him.

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With continuous hard work and effort, Harry opened his food stalls across the town. He named the chain — The Samozzas. He further expanded the chain across major cities in India.

Within a period of the next three years, Harry became one of India’s biggest Food Stall chain owners.

Meanwhile, online business in India picked up. Online food aggregators sprung up. Not to be left behind, Harry also decided to launch his business online.

Harry wanted to hire a CTO to lead the Online initiative for The Samozzas — someone who he could trust. His team listed the opening on top leadership job portals.

His team selected a few applicants. As it was a leadership position, each candidate traveled to meet Harry. One candidate who met Harry was Prats, owner of Mesh Solutions. Harry saw the CV and recognized him.

Harry asked about his previous company.

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“Well, sir, I was the owner of Mesh solutions and ran the company for 4 years. But my company went bankrupt a year back. Since then, I have been looking out for a senior position in an excellent company. I have lost all that I ever had.
Although I get offers from some big IT firms, the work is very mundane and I quit soon.” 
Prats replied.

“And why were you not able to keep the business running?” Harry inquired.

Prats answered, “Sir, all my good people left one by one. They found better offers. When there are no trustworthy people to run the firm, it dies a slow death.”

He paused and said, “Before you ask further, let me tell you the reason. They left because of me. It was me who was not good with them.
Rather than being a compassionate leader, I treated them like servants. I have got the fruit of my doing. My pride consumed me.
But sir, I have learned, and won’t repeat those mistakes.”

“Do you have any experience in the food industry”, Harry asked.

“I don’t have any experience in the food industry, but if you give me a chance, I will prove myself” Prats replied.

Harry said, “Do you remember this is exactly what I said 3 years back from now when I came to you for a data entry job?”

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Prats was hard-pressed, but he remembered the day. The same day, his HR manager had left him because of his attitude. Prats felt sorry for what he did. His face became gloomy.

Considering the situation, Prats got up from his seat to leave.

Harry requested him to have a seat. He said, “If I had a laptop the day I visited your company, I would have been a data entry clerk, and probably jobless! Thanks to you, today I run a Multi-Million dollar food chain!

He smiled and continued, “I assume you have learned your lesson the hard way. I appreciate your honesty. I look forward to working with you and growing The Samozzas globally. You are the new CTO.”

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Prats’ eyes were wet. He could not believe that Harry decided not to avenge the incident. Instead, Harry offered him an influential position in his company.

He conveyed heartfelt thanks to Harry and went home. And Harry, he just could not stop smiling!

Karma has its ways. 
What you give to others comes back to you, after all!

This story teaches many important lessons to adopt in life.

  1. When life closes one door, it opens many others. The point is whether you choose to keep facing the closed door or face the newly opened doors.
  2. Empathize with others. You don’t know what one is going through in life. Be compassionate and learn to forgive.
  3. While monetary success has its place, it is only a loving and kind heart that leads to fulfilling relations and life.

Realize that everything connects to everything else — Leonardo da Vinci

Did you find some other beautiful lessons I missed? Drop a note in the response box and let me know. Let us grow together!


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