A sewer may not be the preferred place to begin the work week, but the working world calls and we must follow. About a year ago, we blogged the sad story of Shlomo and Harel Dahan, respectively the owner and heir of S. Dahan Piping and Heating company in Queens, New York. They were hired to vacuum an 18-foot-deep dry well at a plant owned by Regal Recycling. Harel went in first. When he failed to emerge, his father went in after him. When the father failed to surface, an employee of Regal, Rene Rivas, went in after them. All three were overcome by deadly fumes at the bottom of the well. All three died.
Now we read in the New York Times that Sarah Dahan, Shlomo's widow and mother of Harel, brought the remains of her husband and son to Israel for burial. She left the company in the hands of Ygal Lalush, a trusted employee. In her absence, Lalush changed the locks, stole the company's four trucks, wrote $30,000 in company checks for his personal benefit and started running the company out of his own home under a different corporate name.
Ms. Dahan discovered the problem when she returned from Israel. She first tried to resolve the issue directly with Lalush. When that failed, she went to the authorities. Lalush has been charged with fraud, grand larceny, forgery, possession of stolen property and falsifying business records.
Lessons from the Underground
We could conjecture about the frailty of human nature and the dark shadows that accompany us all as we make our way through the world. We could wonder at the transformation of a loyal employee into a pathetic crook. (Perhaps his lawyer will chalk it up to post-traumatic stress syndrome!) That aspect of this tale will remain forever hidden, like the contents of the sewers cleaned by S. Dahan Piping and Heating.
The take-away from this tale lies within the Dahan family: the father who tried in vain to save his son. The mother who fulfilled a commitment by burying her husband and son in Israel and who tried unsuccessfully to convince her wayward employee to abandon his demented plan. There is genuine dignity in these people, who deserved both a better fate and a higher class of employee.