One of the first teachers of Imam Malik was Shaykh ibn Hurmuz, he was a Mawla of Abu Hurayrah, kind of like how Imam Nafi was a Mawla to ibn ‘Umar. In this way he was employed by Abu Hurayrah.
He also narrates many Hadith from him, and it is for this reason he was said to be a very spiritual man. He was engrossed in knowledge and he taught Imam Malik personally for years. What some may not know is that ibn Hurmuz had another top student that would study with Imam Malik at times as well by the name of Abd Al-Aziz ibn Salamah. May Allah bless them all for their hard work and give them the ultimate high rankings in Jannah. Amin.