This world is an evil and cruel place, but we have two choices in how we will conduct ourselves in the world. One choice is easy but wrong-that is to accept the world as it is. The other choice is hard but right-that is to try to change the world.
I was once a successful businessman and owned several banks. I grew up in a rich society, surrounded mostly by society’s wealthy upper class. My parents were able to send me to one of the most prestigious and advanced universities in the country. I had a great upbringing because of the support of my family and I cannot imagine my life without them. I achieved great things at an early age. At the age of twenty-three I started my own business and by the time I was twenty-six I was named the tenth richest man in the world.
People who don’t know me think my life is perfect, with all the fancy cars, huge mansions and everything else that money can buy. Sadly, the people who surrounded me most of the time were rich, snobby, self-centred, spendthrifts, who cared about my money more than me. I am not proud to say that there was a time when I was just like them. Most of the people I knew were born in ‘lucky families’-families that just happened to be well off. There was one similarity that I found in all of us so called ‘rich people’ and that is, we always wanted more. Everyone wanted to be better than the next person. I always wondered what I would have become if I was not among the so-called ‘lucky people’ and not born in a wealthy family.
For me, it was quite shocking to think of people living in different parts of the globe, who wake up everyday thinking about what they are going to eat on that day. To be honest, I never had an experience like that. Therefore, I used to donate money to charity thinking that was enough effort on my part. Knowing I could do more I started a charity organization, but I couldn’t think of anything more to do to help those that are less fortunate. To be honest, I was not personally active in my charity organization; I just used to donate money and left the rest to whoever was in charge at the time.
I used to waste most of my time at parties where all of the people would drink and go crazy. It is very common that during parties people get drunk. I never understood what people enjoyed in getting drunk, but I did it to feel like I belonged to the elite group. Eventually I developed a problem with drinking. A doctor advised me not to drink any kind of alcohol as it was affecting my health. From then on I was very cautious about drinking.
Three days before Christmas, it was the day of my birthday and due to popular demand I had to have a party at a splendid five star hotel. The party went well. As is common in all parties, drinks where served and people got drunk. The surprising thing was that most of the faces were new to me-I could barely pick out people in the large crowd of partygoers that were my friends.
The party ended at five in the morning, but most of the people left after getting drunk. I was exhausted the next day, but I had to wake up early and go to work to see how my business was doing during the holiday season. While I was at work my mother called me and asked me what I got her for Christmas. My mom loves jewellery and white roses, so like a good son that is what I got her. I also had to get something for my dad, my big sister as well as my grandmother and nephew. My nephew was seven years old and I knew that Christmas meant the world to him.
On the last day before Christmas, I just finished reading the daily newspaper, as I always do and I hurried to go to the supermarket to buy the remaining gifts I didn’t manage to buy earlier. When I saw all the people at the store, I started to complain to myself, “It is going to take forever here and I still have so many other places to go. Christmas really is getting more and more annoying every year. How I wish I could just lie down, go to sleep and only wake up after it…” Nonetheless, I made my way to the toy section, and there I started to check the prices, wondering if my nephew would really play with such cheap toys.
While looking in the toy section, I noticed a small boy of about five years old, pressing a doll against his chest. He kept on touching the hair of the doll and looked very sad. The little boy turned to an old woman standing next to him and said, “Granny, are you sure I don’t have enough money?” The old lady replied, “You know that you don’t have enough money to buy this doll, my dear.” Then she asked him to stay there for five minutes while she went to look around. Soon thereafter she left the little boy standing in by himself.
The little boy was still holding the doll in his hand. Finally, I walked toward him and asked him whom he wanted to give the doll to. The boy told me, “It is the doll that my sister loved most and wanted so much for this Christmas. She was so sure that Santa Claus would bring it to her.” I replied to him that maybe Santa Claus would bring it to her, after all, and not to worry. With a deep expression of sadness in his eyes he replied to me, “No, Santa Claus can not bring it to her where she is now. I have to give the doll to my mother so that she can give it to her when she goes there. My sister has gone to be with God. Daddy says that Mummy will also go to see God very soon, so I thought that she could bring the doll with her to give it to my sister.”
My heart nearly stopped. The little boy looked up at me and said, “I told daddy to tell mummy not to go yet. I asked him to wait until I come back from the supermarket.” The little boy then took out a photograph from his pocket and showed it to me. The photograph was a nice picture of the little boy laughing. He told me, “I also want mummy to take this photo with her so that she will not forget me. I love my mummy and I wish she didn’t have to leave me but daddy says that she has to go to be with my little sister.” Then he looked again at the doll with sad eyes, very quietly. I quickly reached for my wallet and took out a few notes and said to the boy, “What if we checked again, just in case if you have enough money?” “Ok,” he replied.
I secretly added some of my money to his wallet without him seeing and we started to count it. There was enough for the doll, and even some spare money. The little boy said, “Thank you God for giving me enough money.” Then he looked at me and added, “I asked yesterday before I slept for God to make sure I have enough money to buy this doll so that mummy can give it to my sister. He heard me. I also wanted to have enough money to buy a white rose for my mummy, but I didn’t dare to ask God too much. But He gave me enough to buy the doll and the white rose. You know, my mummy loves white roses.”
A few minutes later, the old lady came again and I left with my trolley. I finished my shopping in a totally different state from when I started. I couldn’t get the little boy out of my mind. I remembered a local newspaper article from a day ago, which mentioned a drunken man driving a truck, hitting a car where there was one young lady and a little girl. The little girl died right away, and the mother was left in a critical state. The family had to decide whether to pull the plug on the life-assisting machine, because the young lady would not be able to get out of the coma. “Was this the family of the little boy?” I asked myself.
Two days after this encounter with the little boy, I read in the morning newspaper that the young lady who had been hit by a drunken man had passed away. I couldn’t help myself from going to buy a bunch of white roses. I then went to the mortuary where the body of the young woman was exposed for people to see and make last wish before burial. She was there, lying in her coffin, holding a beautiful white rose in her hand with the photo of the little boy and the doll placed over her chest. I felt like a spark of light hit me and I left the place crying, feeling that my life had been changed forever. The love that this little boy had for his mother and his sister is still, to this day, hard to imagine and put into words. In a fraction of a second, a drunken man had taken all that love away from the innocent little boy.
I tried to find out more about the accident and wanted to know who the drunken driver was. To my surprise I found out that the driver was a man who worked for me. I tried to look for the newspaper again to find out more information about the accident but unfortunately I couldn’t find it. So I went to the police officer in charge of the case and he informed me that, the accident happened on the twenty second of December before midnight. Matt Damon and his fiancï¿½e Mariah Carey were coming back from a huge birthday party of some rich guy at a five star hotel called the Intercontinental and both were drunk. I asked him if he knew whose party it was but he didn’t.
Suddenly it hit me; the twenty second of December was the day of my birthday. I remembered that only my party was held at the Intercontinental Hotel that day. At that moment I said to myself, ” I killed the boys family.” Tears began falling from my eyes. Matt Damon was driving in his brand new luxury car that day, which was fully packed with air bags so luckily his life was spared in the accident. Unfortunately that boy’s mother was driving a small old car, which had no airbags. I took time off to reflect on my life and how I could be a better person.
It was a rather moving experience and a good reminder to take time to appreciate what I have now. People take other people’s lives for granted and only care about their own. As in the case of the little boy, he lost both his mother and sister, due to the carelessness of one drunken driver who doesn’t even remember what happened that day and is now in his suit getting drunk again.
In time I came to realize what I was supposed to do. I started an anti-drinking charity organization. My organization teaches people-especially teenagers-the effects of drinking and how drinking can kill others as well as themselves. Maybe I could help prevent someone drunk to go driving. I became more personally involved in my other charities and especially my anti-drinking charity organization. I know now that life is not always what it seems to be. I am thankful that I grew up having a family that loved me and cared for me. I know that it is going to be a hard and long challenge to change my old habits but it’s a challenge I am willing to take to save the lives of others.
Now, two years after that encounter with the boy, I tried to look for him. When I finally found him, I offered to pay for his education for the rest of his young life, because I know without him, I would have never changed. I like having him in my life because he is a reminded of my bad past habits. Without him I would have never realised just how lucky I am to have a family, and more importantly, the ability to help others in need.