Sept.9, 2023 – The wrong address

I have been retired now for almost eleven years. I worked with my father for many years to learn the trades of plastering and tile setting. My father plastered the buildings and rides at Disneyland back in the fifties. He was a master of his trades.

When my father retired I took over the business. I was twenty eight years old and had known many of our regular customers for many years by the time I replaced my father. I worked for some family’s that owned apartment buildings and other rental properties for over forty years.

This is one of my fun stories from work.

Mr.Jones called me one evening and asked me to meet him at one of his many buildings to do a repair. I usually just gave an estimate and then did the job while I was there on site. My average job took fifty five minutes and I charged around $150.00 for a typical job. I could do six or so jobs a day. I made a pretty good living for a very long time.

So I went to the apartment building and knocked on the door. The building was being painted by the way. A nice Korean lady answered the door and we tried to have a conversation. She spoke no English and my Korean was sadly, lacking.

Somehow I convinced her to let me in to her place and take a look at her bathroom ceiling.

I walked through her very well organized apartment and quickly saw that , indeed, her ceiling was in need of repair.

My helper and I brought in our sawhorse and other equipment and I proceeded to tear out a portion of her bathroom ceiling. We were very clean and neat at our job. That is very important. You can do a lousy job, but if you don’t leave a mess, people are usually left pretty content.

Once the ceiling was open I could see instantly that the upstairs plumbing was still leaking and we had to let the plumber come and do his thing before we could finish repairing the ceiling. I never repaired a ceiling if the plumbing above was still leaking. That would be unethical.

We cleaned up the bathroom, gathered our equipment together and took it outside. As my helper was loading the truck, I tried to explain to this nice woman why her ceiling was left partially open.

I showed her the water dripping from the pipes and she seemed to understand. We had indeed made contact of one sort or another. I left and went on to do more jobs that day.

In the evening as I was about to call my customer, when he called me. “Hey Ray, where were you today?

“I was about to call and ask you the same thing. I went to your building and to apartment 2 and the Korean lady let me in to look at the work. The ceiling was still wet from a leak up above. So I opened it up, saw the leak and left it open for the plumber.”

“Ray, I was there all day and you never showed. The lady in number 2 isn’t Korean, she’s a Mexican gal.”

“Really Mr. Jones?”


“Is your building being painted. The street numbers weren’t on the building due to the painting.”

“No, my building isn’t being painted, but the one across the street is.”

“Oh no. I think I went to the wrong building by mistake.”

“Looks like it Ray. When can you get over here and fix my ceiling? My tenants are getting unpleasant.”

“I’ll come tomorrow morning Mr. Jones. Sorry for the mistake. We’ll get you fixed up in no time.

When I came to do the repair, I came down the back alley so the lady across the street wouldn’t see me arrive if she happened to be out side doing something. I didn’t want to try to explain to her why I never came back. She wouldn’t have understood me in any event.

I worked on Mr. Jones’s building for years and every time I came to work there, I came down the alley.

The way I see this whole capper is that the owner of the wrong building got a free ceiling removal and was made aware of a leak. That was my good deed for that day.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.