The Real Hustle and Flow Serve
Mom and her late husband George moved into a cozy apartment complex in Inglewood, California in the late 80’s. Like most complexes in the area, it’s gated with secured underground garages. With her keen eye for decore and artistic woman’s touch, I’m sure its the nicest apartment in the building. The moving in price for this little hacienda? $750 per month.
For years the rent remained the same. Mom and George knew the owners – a couple who owns several properties and a couple charter schools. George, who was a CPA did their taxes so there was a working relationship between the two parties.
There is another reason my mom became a favored tenant. She cleans not just her own apartment military style, she also polices the building for trash and debris. She sweeps from street corner to street corner, and takes a water hose to the building a couple times a week. It’s just how she is. She enjoys a clean environment and it’s good exercise she told me.
Obviously being in one place for 20 years, there has been some change with the other tenants. Some of the newer neighbors don’t value cleanliness and mom caught one lady dumping trash on the property. That led to this exchange:
Mom: Are you going to pick that up?
Neighbor lady: And who are you?
Mom: “Uhh, I’m your neighbor.”
Since that incident, mom has run into this person several times but the lady avoids eye or any other contact with mom and refuses to speak.
George passed a couple years ago. And because the rent remained the same mom was able to manipulate some figures and survive on her income alone. But a couple months ago the notice came that the rent was indeed finally increasing by $190. Shocked, stunned and fearful mom went to the office to talk about the rent. It seems that an advisor told the owners that they should be charging a lot more for the property in terms of the area and the value. I would agree that the two bed room two bath place is worth more than $750 a month. Still that was only logistics. An increase that drastic would really strain mom’s finances. She needed an edge. Something to ease this potential monkey of her back. While sitting before the owner’s wife, she thought about the services she was already providing in and around the building for over 20 years, thought quickly and blurted out, “You need a building manager?” She pointed out that she has been doing the work of one anyway without benefit, and would probably do the same even if the rent increase still went into effect. Perhaps she could continue to service the area for the difference in exchange for keeping the rent the same. After consultation, they decided it was a go. Mom could do what she was already doing and keep her rent cost down. The owners would continue to have a person who looks after the place, an already loyal tennant who is heavily invested in the community. A true win win. Mom truly demonstrated the virtues of servant-hood and her giving efforts paid off financially for her in the long run.
Her last words on the subject? “Next time I run into that littering neighbor and she ask who I am, I’ll look her straight in the face and say, ‘I’m the manager bitch!”
That’s my mom, a true treasure!