The Story of the Engineer

Here’s a great story we’ve come across many times over the years in many different forms that’s worth posting:

There was a engineer who was hired to fix a huge cargo ship’s engine that was not working. He worked in the industry for 50 years and was well regarded as the best. Besides, the downtime was costing the shipping company thousands of dollars a day.

After listening to the captain’s description of the problem, he went to the engine room. He examined the maze of pipes and listened to the noises for a few minutes. He then grabbed his mallet and started hammering on a very specific valve that was hidden away. The pipe started making a loud hissing noise and within seconds, the engines came to life! The captain thanked him, very happy that the engines were now working and certainly happy to pay whatever the cost would be.

When the captain received a bill a few days later, he was outraged. He complained that the few minutes spent surely couldn’t have cost $1,000. He demanded an itemized bill to see how the amount was being justified. So, the engineer obliged and sent him an itemized bill:

Hammering a valve: $10
Knowing which valve to hammer: $990
TOTAL: $1,000