I got a position as office boy at 40 Broadway, then one of New York’s largest buildings. The man I worked for was a commission merchant, a Hebrew, and one of the finest men I ever met in my life. He took me into his private office and we had a long talk, a sort of fatherly talk, as he had sons and daughters of his own. I loved that man. I had been brought up among the Dutch and Irish, and had never associated with the Jews, and I supposed from what I had heard that they were put on earth for us to get the best of, fire stones at, and treat as meanly as we could. That was my idea of a Jew—my boy idea. Yet here was a man, a Jew, one of the whitest men I ever met, who by his life changed completely my opinion of the Jews, and I put them down from that day as being pretty good people.
My mother did some work for his wife, and when he heard that I wanted to go to work he told her to send me over to his place of business, and that is how I got my second position in this big world.
I went to work with the determination to make a man of myself, and mother said:
“Now, Dave, be a good boy, and one of these days you will be a big merchant and I shall be proud of you.” That was what I might have been if I had had the grace of God to make my life true. I am acquainted with some men to-day that started about the same time I did. They were boys that looked ahead, studied and went up step by step, and are to-day some of the best-known bankers in America.
They say “Hell is paved with good intentions,” and I believe it is. We start out in life with the best intentions, but before we know it we are up against some temptation, and unless we have God with us we are sure to fall, and when we fall, why, it’s the hardest thing in the world to get back where we tumbled from. I only wish I had taken the Saviour as my helper years ago. Oh! what a change He did make in my life after I did accept Him, seventeen years ago!
I started in to work at four dollars a week, and, as I said, I intended to be a great merchant. I meant well, if that was any consolation. My duties were to go to the postoffice and bring the mail, copy the letters, and run errands, and I was happy.
I was out one day on an errand, when whom should I meet but my old friend Mike ——, my chum of the pig incident. He said, “Hello, Dave, where are you working?” He had a job in a factory in Maiden Lane, at the same wages I was getting. I hadn’t seen much of Mike lately, and to tell the truth I didn’t care so much about meeting him. I am not superstitious by any means, but I really thought he was my Jonah. We talked a while, and we promised to meet and go home together. Like a foolish boy, I met him that night and many a time after.