Gānbēi

It was about early November in 2009. We had a few reservations in the book. One in particular was a group of twenty people at 7pm. There was a VIP mentioned on the notes of the reservation. Automatically we knew this was going to be a profitable evening.

As we we waited for the group to arrive, we prepared everything as best as we could to accommodate them. Shined utensils, prepared the stations, dusted the chairs and got our wallets ready….

We were all extremely excited. We all speculated who the customer was on the reservation sheet. What we did find out was he used to be a Prime Minister of a province in Canada and now a executive on a board of a certain company ( I rather not mention who). In the meantime we had a small service. Our real focus was the this VIP table… that’s when the door opened.

Finally a few customers from the reservation came. I immediately greeted them. He explained how this was a special event for his newest partners in the company and he was the CEO. I assured him that we will not disappoint him and his guests. He asked me to pick a very nice wine which would impress his guests.

“Well sir not sure what the budget is? Would you like a bottle under a thousand or over a thousand” (major recycled joke which I got from my colleague. He uses it still and so do I). He bursts into laughter and suggests to go under “let’s say young man about 150$”. I was pumped, this is gonna be great night. So I chose a fine bottle of Brunello di Montalcino from the house Antinori, Pian delle Vinge.

I brought eight bottles up from the wine cellar considering they would be all drinking the same wine. My colleagues saw me bringing up the wine and they were like “dayummm!” When they saw me with all that wine they actually got off their asses and got busy. The walking dead rose again. The power of money makes my zombie busboys move a little.

Just then the rest of the group arrived. The gentleman who made the reservation walked in and you can tell he was gonna be the entertainment of the group. He walked in followed by a group of Chinese men and a few ladies. They all arrived, they were loaded and loud. This gentleman ( let’s just say his name is Brian) asked for a glass of wine for him and his guests. He asked me “son listen here we need these glasses filled all the time, make sure also have the finest cigars money can buy at the end of our meal. We might need some escorts to please our guests, so look into what you can do”

Now in my head I was saying ” yes sir let me just call my favourite night ladies that I use on a regular. I especially like the cracks with tracks…”

Well this is definitely not my domaine so passed the task to the in house specialist on the subject. He had a degree in the matter at least 120 hours logged. “Hey Tony (not his actual name) make the call for some hoes for these bozos”. He jumped up for joy ” oh mannn these guys are in for a treat”

Well anyways I am sure this might be offensive but I don’t judge these guys or girls. Live and let live…

The group at this point was feeling spicy and truthfully I don’t think anyone understood each other. What they understand is wine! One of investors stands up on a chair. He starts speaking mandarin. After he spoke the translator translated his speech… it went something like this ” Today we have become partners in our venture. We are going to make a lot of Money together. I am proud to be here today and you are all my brothers! Gānbēi!

Everyone roared in the room Gānbēi! (This means cheers in mandarin) They all took their glass of wine and drank whatever was in the glass. Brian calls me over ” young man fill up the glasses” so I filled all the glasses.

Then another one stood up spoke in English this time ” This is an honour and a privilege to be working side by side with each other …. even if I don’t understand a word you say .” The translator translates and they all burst into laughter. Gānbēi !!!

They all drank again all of their glasses of wine. At this point they hadn’t even eaten yet and they had already drank 5 bottles of wine. Brian calls me over ” now listen here son, you are doing a fine job. We will need food for the table I trust you to bring us what’s necessary to have a good time. Now bring us Tignanello instead of this crap.”

Say whaaat! No he didn’t! I could stop laughing he chose a more expensive wine to follow up. So now instead of 150$ we went to 275$!

The team was ecstatic. We were on track for the big bucks. In the ended up dislocated my shoulder for the crazy amount of time I had to refill their glasses. It was the one most bitter sweet moments considering they were wasting this amazing wine. I will never forget this word Gānbēi. It will forever be tattooed in my brain. They had 5 bottles of brunello and 12 bottles of Tignanello. They continued on the terrace afterward for night caps and cigars but they had turned green at this point. The cigars were smoking them… except for Brian. He was ready for round 2…

One of the executives mentioned to us “guys if I were you I would take a look at our stock. It’s traded on the TSX. These gentleman just invested 200 million dollars and it will shoot our stock to the moon”

He told us the stock and low and behold if I would have taken his advice I would have made some big money. We unfortunately didn’t know what to do with information. I hardly had any money to invest anyway. The stock climbed from $2.75 to $20 over a year. Just unbelievable experience. Now I love the stock market and always have a keen ear to the ground.

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