I was a very shy kid, so I applied myself to work to offset my shyness. My first job, at age 16, outside the family business, was at the Mobil gas station on Route 45 in Monsey, N.Y. I just wanted the Mobil shirt, which ironically was always too big because I was so skinny.

I pumped gas after school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It was only bad in the summer and winter because of the weather, but it was such a simple job. I liked taking responsibility. When I took over a shift, I would have to record the numbers on the pump and do the same when I left. Misrepresenting them was a federal offense—literally—so if I forged them, there would be a serious problem. I took pride in writing them down and, at 16, had my first little power trip.

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