SOMETIMES it pays to make good suggestions and sometimes it doesn't. It all depends on the man to whom they are made. This is well illustrated by an anecdote in the Saturday Evening Post:
A. was a surveyor, and at twenty-two joined the force of B., who was chief engineer of the Western lines of the great X-Y Railway System. A. at first gained valuable experience in the field, then was placed in the office at headquarters as draftsman.
A branch line had been surveyed across the mountains; it was called the Selkirk extension, and A. had made the drawings. One day B. came to him and said:
"You take sufficient men, go out to Selkirk Mountain section, and verify the profiles."
A. performed the work without a hitch, but while at Mount Selkirk had made a discovery. B. was a haughty man, and A. hesitated to mention the matter. But, on making his report, he gathered his courage, and said:
"I would like to offer a suggestion concerning the grade around Mount Selkirk."
B. nodded sternly, and A. proceeded:
"The grade there is steep, and two miles of track are exposed to snowslides. Why not tunnel the mountain?"
B. glared at the young man in silence. The next day A. received an envelope and his discharge. He promptly found work with a bridge company, but could not forget Selkirk Mountain. A month later he learned that B. had been transferred to the Eastern lines.
When, the same week, the general manager of the X-Y arrived, A. went to headquarters and asked for an audience with the great man. He made two efforts and failed, the manager was busy. Then A. penned a line on his card and sent it in. The line read: "I have a plan whereby the X-Y can save a million dollars." He was admitted, and the manager said:
"Well, who are you? What is it?"
A. lost no time and produced a drawing. "I am no financier, but I am familiar with the survey on the Selkirk extension, and -"
"Are you employed by the company?"
"No, sir, but I lost my job because I proposed that a tunnel be driven through Selkirk Mountain. Here are the grades, two miles of useless track to be buried in snow all winter. Now, since Mr. B. has gone, I dared to call your attention to the proposition. I want to work for your company."
A. was put through a half-hour's strenuous cross-examination, and at its close the manager turned to his desk to write an order. When A. left the office he carried with him the desired appointment, and since has advanced to the office of chief engineer of the X-Y System.