I sat down at my desk hoping to rest my ankle a bit. I noticed Cecilia struggling to say goodbye to all the people she’d worked with that had become like family over the years. She told me that it wasn’t her choice to leave her job and that she was heartbroken to be leaving.
Luke walked out of his office and smiled at her.
“Please can we all gather around,” he ordered his team.
Everyone gathered around Cecilia’s desk. Luckily, I was sitting right by it and didn’t have to move.
“Cecilia has been with us for a number of years and I know she’s not only dear to me. I know she has touched everyone’s lives and has become family to most of us. There hasn’t been a day when she hasn’t put me first, even before herself. I am devastated that today is her last day with us. Cecilia, we wish you all the best for your future even though we wish that we could keep you with us forever. Before we all say goodbye, Cecilia, I have something for you from the whole team,” he stepped into his office and returned with an envelope, a few balloons filled with helium and a few gift-wrapped boxes. While everyone’s attention was on him, I noticed someone setting up something in the corner. My view was restricted so I couldn’t see what it was.
Cecilia walked towards Luke and accepted the envelope and the balloons. She opened the envelope and tears began to fill her eyes.
“Oh Luke, thank you so much. I really appreciate this,” she hugged him.
He smiled at her, not revealing to the rest of us what was in the envelope.
“In the boxes are gifts for your two little girls, you and your husband,” he smiled. “You can open them when you get home.”
She nodded and wiped away a few tears.
“And now,” he took her elbow and led her to the corner of the room where I’d noticed the activity. “We can all have some cake,” he announced and the whole team cheered.
Once everyone had had cake and said goodbye to Cecilia, there was a still an hour of the working day left.
“One last announcement,” Luke stood up. “Everyone can leave for the day. Thank you for all the hard work and we’ll meet again on Monday.”
Everyone smiled and began packing up. It seemed like Luke treated his employees like family. I wasn’t sure if I could leave as well.
Luke returned to his office and continued working. I decided to see if there was anything else, he needed before I left. I knocked on the door and he called out for me to enter.
“Luke, do you need anything else for the day?”
He looked up at me, frowned and looked at his watch. “I thought I told everyone to leave twenty minutes ago.”
“Yes, you did but I wasn’t sure if that applied to me as well.”
He chuckled. “Maddie, you’ll notice that I work crazy long hours. I don’t expect you to work later than necessary. If I need you to stay late for any reason, I will try to let you know a week in advance. You can leave now. I’m sure you have Friday night plans that you’d like to get to,” he smiled.
“Well Friday nights are family dinner nights. Do you not have plans that you should be rushing to get to?”
He smiled sadly. “I have Saturday morning plans,” he winked. “See you on Monday,” he dismissed me.
I nodded and left.