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16 October 2014

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Thank You Mr Gibbs

By Jean Pike
30 November 2007, South East Wales
A digital story from Rhondda Lives!

"I'm eight years old, the dirtiest, ugliest, scruffiest kid in the class. We're going to school this particular morning. It's St David's Day, and I'm practically in rags, but we have a student teacher, and Mr Gibbs, wants to know from each one of us what our ambitions are and what we want to be when we grow up. And I say, I'd like to get married and have children, and the class is in an uproar because who wants to marry ugly, horrible her. I started to cry because all the kids were having a field day making fun of me.

Mr Gibbs comes up to me and he is very kind, very young, and he dries my tears a bit and he says; now Jean, I'll give you a little piece of advice. If you clean your teeth and smile, have good manners and learn to speak properly then it will open every door you want.

To earn money to buy this toothpaste, I ran errands which would buy me a flat pack of Gibbs toothpaste which was solid in those days, and you wet it and rubbed your toothbrush on it, and practiced smiling a little bit.

And it's proved to be excellent advice over the years, because when I left Grammar school I went to Thomas and Evans to work, a very nice firm. Now it's known as the Pop Factory. We were people, we weren't just numbers. They knew us by name and they took interest in us, in all our welfare. And we really enjoyed it, because we took a great pride in it, even to cleaning the bacon machine and stripping down all the weights and measures, and polishing them.

And when it came to represent Thomas and Evans at union meetings or managerial courses in Birmingham, Cadburys in particular, I was very fortunate because they sent me so it opened up a field of, well adventures really because in my background the opportunities wouldn't have arisen otherwise. And I wish now that I could see Mr Gibbs and thank him for the advice he gave me because it stood me in good stead all these years, it's opened many doors for me and given me many opportunities which otherwise I wouldn't have had."

Jean Pike
Your comments

"Great story and shows that good things can stay in our heads as well as bad. Well done Jean and thanks for sharing!!!" Lorain from Cwmbran.

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