I had just walked in our back door when the doorbell rang.
“1)Hon, did you ring the bell? “my wife asked.
“No, I didn’t. You’re kidding, right?” I replied.
Then the bell sounded again. Marianne was in her 2)pajamas already and didn’t want to answer the door so I headed to the front. When I opened it I found a handsome young boy standing there with newspaper in hand.
“Yes, can I help you?” I asked.
“Here’s today’s paper,” he said as he handed me a copy. He appeared very nervous. “I’m selling 3)subscriptions so that I can get a scholarship for college,” he said quietly.
Oh I hated to stop him, but he handed me a copy of the paper I get delivered already. I didn’t want him to waste his time and energy trying to sell me something I already had.
“Excuse me. I get it already,” I told him.
“Oh.” His voice dropped an 4)octave in a disappointed 5)grumble.
Without even saying goodbye, he nervously walked down the steps and into my driveway. I started to close the door and as I turned I could see my wife standing there. She’s the logical one, the nearly 6)sane one in the family. She knows me best. I felt like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie 7)jar. I turned once again to see the young boy standing there, looking at his notes and up and down the street. I turned back and there was the guard on duty. She was waiting for me to do it.
You see, the last time a young boy came by selling a newspaper subscription to a paper we didn’t need, I was so impressed with him that I ran after him and gave him ten 8)bucks. “Here, this is for you. I so admire you for doing this to make money. You’ll 9)go far in life,” I told him.
Then I had to face Marianne.
“Okay, how much did you give him?” she asked.
I was just as nervous as the young man I’d met tonight. You see, times were financially difficult back then and that ten dollars was all I had. Now it all came flashing back to me. As always in my life I think, “If I do this I’ll be in trouble. And I’ve been in trouble before. However, I’ll do it!”
I opened the door and looked to see where he was. I couldn’t see him. I closed the door behind me and as I approached the steps I found him sitting at the bottom.
“Oh, I’m sorry!” he said as he began to rise.
“No, that’s okay. How’s it going?” I asked.
“Not so good. Everyone I spoke to so far either has the paper or isn’t interested. I’ve had the door closed on me and some wouldn’t even open it. They’d 10)yell through the window. ÔI’m not interested.’”
“Are you just doing this for 11)extra money?”
“Extra money? I don’t even know what that means. You see I work after school at a local store and on weekends helping my uncle. This I have to do. You see I can’t...” He paused for a moment.
“You can’t imagine how difficult it is to do this. But I must. It’s all I have,” he said, “This will help me get some scholarship money for college. I know it’s a long way 12)off, but if I don’t start now I won’t be able to go when I’m old enough. The money I earn from the other jobs goes to help my mom. She needs the money just to feed us. This is my future.”
You know a grown adult shouldn’t have this much 13)weight on their shoulders.
But a young child with so much burden in life already is too much. Part of me wants to make it all go away for him, but the fact is, this kind of stuff is going to make one 14)heck of a man out him. He’s facing it head on. He’s up for the challenge and ready to win the fight. Most kids his age 15)are stuck in front of a TV or 16)video game. Most have the attitude “someone’s going to take care of everything. I have nothing to worry about.”
“My friend, don’t worry about the future. I see the future in your heart. I see it in your spirit. I see it in your eyes and it’s bright and beautiful!”
With those words, I gave him ten dollars. But don’t tell Marianne. If she heard this story from this young man, she’d be mad at me. And she’d probably have given him twenty.