3 inspiring, soul-enriching stories
What do Albert Einstein and Bill Gates have in common?
3 inspiring, soul-enriching stories
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - October 13, 2020 - 12:00am

It’s feel-good Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. Time out from showbiz sizzlers, time for some inspiring, soul-enriching stories contributed by friends, as usual authors unknown and Funfare providing the titles.

1. The Child Prodigy (attributed to an elementary music teacher from Iowa, USA, and contributed by STAR Sunday columnist Danny Dolor).

I have always supplemented my income by teaching piano lessons, something I have done for over 30 years. During those years, I found that children have many levels of musical ability, and even though I have never had the prodigy, I have taught some very talented students. However, I have also had my share of what I call “musically-challenged pupils,” one such pupil being Robby. He was 11 years old when his mother (a single mom) dropped him off for his first piano lesson.

I prefer that students (especially boys) begin at an earlier age, which I explained to Robby. But Robby said that it had always been his mother’s dream to hear him play the piano so I took him as a student.

At the end of each weekly lesson, he would always say, “My mom is going to hear me play someday.” But to me, it seemed hopeless, he just did not have any inborn ability. I knew his mother only from a distance as she dropped Robby off or waited in her aged car to pick him up. She always waved and smiled, but never dropped in.

Then, one day Robby stopped coming for his lessons. I thought about calling him, but assumed that because of his lack of ability he had decided to pursue something else. I was also glad that he had stopped coming. He was a bad advertising for my teaching!

Several weeks, later I mailed a flyer recital to the students’’ homes. To my surprise, Robby (who had received a flyer) asked if he could be in the recital. I told him that the recital was for current students and that because he had dropped out, he really did not qualify.

He told me that his mother had been sick and unable to take him to his piano lessons, but that he had been practicing. “Please, I’ve just got to play,” he insisted. I don’t know what led me to allow him to play in the recital -- perhaps it was his insistence or maybe something inside of me saying that it would be all right.

The night of the recital came and the high school gymnasium was packed with parents, relatives and friends. I put Robby last in the program just before I was to come up and thank all the students and play a finishing piece. I thought that any damage he might do would come at the end of the program and I could always salvage his poor performance through my “curtain closer.”

Well, the recital went off without a hitch. The students had been practicing and it showed. Then, Robby came up on the stage. His clothes were wrinkled and his hair looked as though he had run an egg beater through it. “Why wasn’t he dressed up like the other students?” I thought. “Why didn’t his mother at least make him comb his hair for this special night?”

Robby pulled out the piano bench, and I was surprised when he announced that he had chosen to play Mozart’s Concerto No. 21 in C Major. I was not prepared for what I heard next. His fingers were light on the keys, they even danced nimbly on the ivories. He went from Pianissimo to Fortissimo, from Allegro to Virtuoso; his suspended chords that Mozart demands were magnificent! Never had I heard Mozart played so well by anyone his age.

After six and a half minutes, he ended in a grand crescendo, and everyone was on their feet in wild applause!!! Overcome and in tears, I ran up on stage and put my arms around Robby in joy.

“I have never heard you play like that Robby,” I told him. “How did you do it?”

Through the microphone, Robby explained, ‘Well, ma’am, I told you that my mom was sick, didn’t I? She actually had cancer and she passed away this morning. And, well, she was born deaf so tonight was the first time she had ever heard me play and I wanted to make it special.”

There wasn’t a set wreck in the house that evening. As people from Social Services led Robby from the stage to be placed into Foster Care, I noticed that even their eyes were red and puffy. I thought to myself then how much richer my life had been for taking Robby as my pupil.”

No, I have never had a prodigy but that night I became a prodigy...of Robby. He was the Teacher and I was the Pupil, for he had taught me the meaning of Perseverance and Love and Believing in Yourself, and may be even taking a chance on someone and you didn’t know why.

Robby was killed years later in the senseless bombing of a building in Oklahoma City in April 1995.

***

2. What makes a millionaire truly happy (author also unknown, contributed by STAR occasional writer Edu Jarque who is a member of the Board of Trustees of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde).

In a telephone interview, the radio announcer asked his guest, a millionaire, “What made you happiest in life?”

The millionaire said, “I have gone through four stages of happiness in life and finally I understood the meaning of true happiness. The first stage was to accumulate wealth and means. But at this stage I did not get the happiness I wanted. Then came the second stage of collecting valuables and items. But I realized that the effect of this thing is also temporary and the lustre of valuable things does not last long.

“Then came the third stage of getting big projects. Like buying a football team, buying a tourist resort, etc. But even here I did not get the happiness I had imagined. The fourth time a friend of mine asked me to buy a wheelchair for some disabled children.

“At a friend’s request, I immediately bought a wheelchair. But the friend insisted that I go with him and hand over the wheelchairs to the children. I got ready and went with it. There I give these chairs to these children with my own hands. I saw the strange glow of happiness on the faces of these children. I saw them all sitting on chairs, moving around and having fun. It was as if they had arrived at a picnic spot.

“But I felt real joy when I started to leave and one of the kids grabbed my leg. I gently tried to free my legs but the child stared at my face and held my legs tightly.

“I bent down and asked the child: ‘Do you need anything else?’

“The answer that this child gave me not only made me happy but also changed my life completely. This child said, ‘I want to remember your face so that when I meet you in heaven, I will be able to recognize you and thank you once again’.”

***

3. Who is richer? (author also not known, contributed by Ali Sotto; maybe you have read it before, here in Funfare or somewhere else, but it won’t hurt if you read it again...and again, right?).

Someone asked the richest man in the world, Bill Gates, “Is there anyone richer than you in the world?”

Gates replied, “Yes, there is a person who is richer than me.”  He then narrated a story.

“It’s during the time when I wasn’t rich or famous. I was at the New York Airport when I saw a newspaper vendor. I wanted to buy one newspaper but found that I don’t have enough of change. So I left the idea of buying and returned it to the vendor.

“I told him of not having the change. The vendor said, ‘I am giving you this for free.’ On his insistence I took the newspaper.

“Coincidentally, after three months, I landed at the same airport and again I was in short of change for a newspaper. The vendor offered me the newspaper again. I refused and said that I can’t take it for I don’t have a change today too. He said, ‘You can take it, I am sharing this from my profit, I won’t be at loss.’ I took the newspaper.

“After 19 years I became famous and known by people. Suddenly, I remembered that vendor. I began searching for him and after about month and a half of searching I found him.

“I asked him, ‘Do you know me?’ He said, ‘Yes, you are Bill Gates.’

“I asked him again, ‘Do you remember once you gave me newspaper for free?’

“The vendor said, ‘Yes, I remember. I gave you twice.’

“I said, ‘I want to repay the help you had offered me that time. Whatever you want in your life, tell me, I shall fulfill it.’

“The vendor said, ‘Sir, don’t you think that by doing so you won’t be able to match my help?’

“I asked, ‘Why?’

“He said, ‘I had helped you when I was a poor newspaper vendor and you are trying to help me now, when you have become the richest man in the world. How can your help match mine?’

“That day I realized that the newspaper vendor is richer than me because he didn’t wait to become rich to help someone. People need to understand that the truly rich are those who possess a rich heart rather than lots of money. It’s really very important to have a rich heart to help others.”

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

ALBERT EINSTEIN BILL GATES
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