I am working in a small business (< 15 employees) as a software developer. Roughly half of us are. The rest is working as IT specialists for system integration. The coworker I am speaking of is working in this field. He is doing his apprenticeship here and is currently in the second year, if I am not mistaken (could still be first year too). Even though he is an apprentice, he has customer appointments, so he is away for 2/3 of the time.
For simplicity, let's just call him 'Jake' from now on.
Our office is located in a building with apartments in every floor above the base floor. So there are ~20 parties living here, who are regularly passing by our office. Most of them are old and already retired. Some of them are kinda weak, so we sometimes have to hold the door open. Of course there are a few seniors who are annoying and seek to talk to us more than we would like to, because we need to work. And I can understand that, because I guess they might be a bit lonely living here. But almost everyone living here is very kind and doesn't do that.
What upsets me
Now to create the connection between the two situations described:
Rarely a senior needs help with IT and we are glad we can provide it. We also do it for little money, just as a gesture (our boss likes and propagates a nice and friendly behaviour in and around the office). When Jake was asked to help an old man with his IT stuff, he did so. No problem at all.
Later that day, the old man came into our office, to give some money to him, because he was helping nicely he told us. Unfortunately, Jake was working somewhere else. So the senior left it on his place. The sum doesn't matter, as this is symbolic for me. I just thought 'what a kind man'.
So when Jake was back the other day and the old man was going to his apartment, I told him: "Yo Jake, the man who left money on your place is there. If I were you I'd go there and say thank you."
He replied "No. I don't mean to be rude, but..." and cut his sentence, staying inactive. I was kind of speechless, because I can recall childhood memories where I could have returned everything I got from people trying to gift me if I did not thank them. Anyway, I was confused and left.
Note: By no means was this man annoying to any of us at all. So this couldn't be the reason.
What happened after that
This left me pretty upset, because even though he saw him a few times after that, he never went to say thanks for the money. I find this situation pretty unbelievable. To put it in perspective: He is 20 years old and doesn't seem to have learned the same lesson I did.
Because we work in a small business, I can say that everyone except him would have thanked the old man with no problem. As I was left in a state of disbelief, I talked to the two coworkers I have a really good connection to and told them what happened. They thought the same.
What I am thinking of doing
I am by no means manager of anyone here. We have a flat hierarchy and most of the time the people who are oldest and have worked here longest are the people who make a decisions here and there, but mostly that responsibility belongs to our boss (of course).
So what are my options? My thoughts are:
- Leave it, it's not worth it
- Talk to him why I think this behaviour is unacceptable socially and why I think it gives a bad image of our company
- Talk to our boss (which I think might be overkill and put me in a bad light)
- Don't care if he knows, but adjust my behaviour to a very distant one
The last option would be my option of choice if it wasn't in a professional environment. Normally in non-professional environments I begin to avoid people like that on the spot, because I respect old people and can't stand any misbehaviour against them.