The five-year-old boy has worked alongside his father at their car dealership since the age of one – earning £1 for every scratch or dent he spots. Matt Ward said he has been bringing his son Alfie to work at his Voldi Ltd used car dealership every Saturday “rain, snow, sleet or snow” for three years and half.
But when the 37-year-old was asked by a customer why Alfie wasn’t ‘inside watching TV’, Matt described the benefits for his son, including increased of his self-esteem, allowing him to learn the value of money and create “fun memories”. ‘ with his dad.
The general manager said the customer responded with a smile and never questioned his answer before leaving a deposit on the car. Matt has since shared a post about the exchange on LinkedIn, where he amassed over 2,000 likes, comments and shares.
The father-of-one, who has described Alfie as ‘his world’, hopes watching his dad’s hard work ‘imprint him as normal’ and set him up for later in life.
Matt, from Worksop, Nottinghamshire, said: “Since he was quite young I’ve always brought him to work with me. He’s been coming since he’s been in a pram, so for about three and a half years. I wanted program him from an early age to have a lot of self-esteem and I thought that was a great way to do it.
“I want to give him confidence and listen to me talk to people and learn the value of money. I appreciate that he’s only five years old, but I think the first eight or nine years of the life of a child, that’s when you can really put an imprint on them.
“It’s also really good for their learning because they get new vocabulary and talk to a lot of different people and I think it takes them a lot faster, rather than just having an interaction with the school. It gets a reward so I make it fun for him It’s just tokenism and it’s a £1 but at that kind of age they don’t know the difference between a £1 and a thousand pounds whatever he sees it as a reward and it goes straight into his piggy bank. When he grows up, I want him to remember those times as fun and spend time with his dad.”
Matt, who has worked at the award-winning car dealership for four years, said little Alfie watches everything he does while working with him. This includes sitting next to him in the office, listening to him communicate with customers, and when part swaps occur, he will also identify any marks or scratches.
He explains that he was prompted to explain why he brought Alfie to work after being questioned by a customer who asked why the tot wasn’t “inside where it’s hot”.
Matt said: “He was there on a Saturday with me and a customer was looking at a car and he seemed shocked he wasn’t watching TV inside or something. I said to the customer ‘he’s my son , he’s here every weekend and that’s what he does I make it fun for him and I think it’s great for his self-esteem and his learning curve and I hope that will put him on the right track for the future.
“The customer smiled, they couldn’t really give another answer. They left a deposit on the car they were looking at and patted my son on the head and said ‘bye bye Alfie’. I want print out as much as I can and get it ready for its future.
“Children do what their parents do. If they see a parent doing something, they think it’s normal and they’ll copy it. If he sees me working hard, I hope it will impress him as being normal.”
The 37-year-old said the response to his LinkedIn post was “fantastic” and brought back fond memories for many professionals who were also brought to work by their parents as children.
One user said: “Big life lessons learned at a very young age prepare you for life. When I was 10 my dad was the circulation manager for The Scotsman newspaper and when there were events that needed outside vendors, he took me out and my job was to sell newspapers on the street, he employed a lot of people to do it but always took me out to teach me how to sell – I was paid like the others and I always sold them all.
Another added: “Love it. I think taking your child to work is essential if you want them to understand what business their parents are involved in – because maybe one day they will want to maybe join you in. If nothing else if they’re recipients of what the company has given you in terms of lifestyle etc., they’ll know where it came from (your hard work) and what it took to get there – even from a child’s perspective.”
A third commented: “I worked very, very hard with my dad for many years. Outside in all weathers, all year round. It taught me the value of working for my money. A lot of those values are with me today. He did not make any allowances for my age or for being his son. I was there to graft and that was it! I in turn taught my children to work hard to what they earn – no freeloading allowed!!
I now have five hard-working and honest children of whom I am very proud.”