Sean was aware of the fact that there were many individuals around the world who were in worse situations than he was. Nevertheless, he was feeling disheartened today. He was a single father raising three children on his own after losing his wife to cancer. The situation had worsened as he had to sell his house to cover the medical expenses, and he eventually lost his job because of excessive absences and tardiness that were required to care for his ailing wife.
Due to the high cost of living in Oakland, Sean could not afford to rent an apartment and had to resort to living in a local tent city with his kids. It was a nightmare, and he never anticipated that his life would take such a turn. Each day felt more dreadful than the previous, and with no job, he felt helpless.
Sean could only work part-time in the mornings when his children were at school, but it was not enough to make ends meet in an expensive city like Oakland. In addition, he was still struggling to pay off some debts. A kind woman who lived in the tent next to them offered to look after the kids for an hour after school, but it wasn’t sufficient to address their needs.
“What? I can’t do that. My kids. Look at me. I’m…nothing.”
Sean was in a tough spot, desperately in need of a job that would allow him to care for his kids while earning a living. Despite feeling hopeless, he persevered and continued with his daily routine, scraping by with just enough money to provide for his children. He often went without meals to ensure that they had enough to eat.
On this particular day, Sean left work and made his way to the nearest gas station. With a little bit of extra cash, he decided to treat himself to a cheap hot dog before picking his kids up from school. As he approached the station, he noticed a man frantically trying to calm a woman in the passenger seat and a child.
Although Sean didn’t want to intrude, he couldn’t help but notice the couple’s distress. As he was about to continue on his way, the man suddenly called out to him.
“Sir! Sir!” he shouted, running towards Sean.
Confused, Sean turned around and asked, “Is everything okay?”
The man looked at Sean with desperation in his eyes and explained, “Sir, I’m sorry to ask, but my wife is in labor, and we’re out of gas. I left my wallet and phone at home as we were rushing out of the house. Is there any way you can help me?”
Sean felt a tug at his heartstrings as he listened to the man’s plea. Despite his own struggles, he knew he couldn’t just walk away and leave them in their time of need.
Sean’s lips pursed, and his brow furrowed as he considered his options. “Well, sir. I only have $2, but you can have it,” he finally said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out the bills.
“Thank you! Thank you! That will work. I had a few coins in the car, but with this, I can fill up a gallon and make it to the hospital,” the man named Matthew replied, gratefully taking the money. “Please give me your contact information so I can repay you.”
Sean shook his head. “No, it’s not necessary. I just hope your wife and baby get to the hospital safely,” he said with a smile.
But Matthew insisted, “Please, I want to pay you back.”
“Alright then,” Sean relented, giving Matthew his number.
As he watched Matthew fill up his car and speed out of the gas station, Sean couldn’t help but think that they must have been completely out of gas if they were so desperate. He reflected on the intense emotions that come with childbirth, understanding how priorities shift in times of crisis.
Even though he had given away his only bit of extra money, Sean walked away from the gas station feeling good about himself. He may have gone hungry that day, but at least he had helped a family in need.
The next morning, the sun was shining brightly through the tent, and it was still early. If it weren’t for the phone ringing, he would have slept in a little longer. As it turned out, it was a video call from Matthew, who greeted him with a cheerful “Sean!! Hello!” that was almost too energetic for Sean’s groggy state.
“Hey, Matthew,” Sean replied, rubbing his eyes.
“Our baby has arrived! Look!” Matthew exclaimed, holding up the newborn for Sean to see.
“Congratulations!” Sean replied, smiling as his own children woke up and came closer to the camera. They had heard about the new arrival from their single dad and wanted to congratulate the new father too.
“Listen, Sean, I need you to come to my office around noon. I have something to tell you,” Matthew said, his tone serious.
“Noon? Well, I think so, but I don’t have much time before I have to pick up my kids,”
“Don’t worry, I won’t keep you long today,” Matthew replied cryptically, giving him an address in downtown.
“I just wanted to thank you for what you did yesterday. I could see that giving away those $2 was a big sacrifice for you, and I appreciate it,” Matthew said in his office, impressing Sean. He had no idea that the man he helped was the owner of a company, and he wondered if he could ask for a job.
“Thank you, sir. I’m a father, so I know what it’s like to go through labor with your wife,” Sean replied, smiling despite thinking of his late wife.
“Tell me more about your life and your family,” Matthew encouraged. After hesitating for a moment, Sean opened up and shared his struggles with his wife’s illness, her passing, losing their home, and their current living situation.
“Now I can only work part-time because I have to take care of my kids. We haven’t been approved for some government assistance, so it’s been tough,” Sean finished, biting his lip.
“You mentioned that you used to manage a company?” Matthew inquired.
“Yes, I was the senior regional manager at my previous job, but I had to step back when my wife got sick,” Sean confirmed.
“How about this? Manage this company?” Matthew said bluntly.
“What? I couldn’t do that. My kids. Look at me. I’m…nothing,” Sean protested.
“We’ll figure something out,” Matthew replied confidently.
“What kind of management position is it?” Sean asked, intrigued. This offer was more than he could’ve imagined.
“Actually, I want you to be the new owner. I’m expanding and I desperately need a partner. We’ll be co-owners. I like your attitude, and I have a great gut feeling about people. What do you say?” Matthew offered, leaving Sean speechless.
“I don’t think I can turn down such an offer, but wouldn’t it be better to have a partner with more money?” Sean asked, stunned by the generous proposal.
“Money, huh? You know, a wealthy man in a luxury Lexus refused to give me a few dollars for gas before you came along,” Matthew revealed, raising an eyebrow. “A few dollars that wouldn’t even make a dent in his bank account. But you, you gave me all you had to eat that day. That means more to me than any amount of money some random investor could bring in. I don’t want just new money, I want to infuse my business with more soul. I want you.”
“Thank you,” Sean breathed, unable to believe his luck. Matthew smiled and shook his hand.
Soon, Sean started working as one of the new owners and was even allowed to bring his children to the office. With the advance of his excellent salary, he found a wonderful apartment for his family and everything began to settle.
In addition, he helped other people in the tent city find better jobs, including the neighbor who often helped him with the kids.