I was working at a Vietnamese restaurant and I needed some extra money. I had just let a coworker borrow some cash.
“I need to buy my girlfriend a birthday present,” he said. “I’ll pay you back tomorrow.”
He never came back to work.
Another time, I was walking home from work at night when a couple pushing a stroller approached me. It was below freezing and the baby wasn’t covered.
“Please, we need some money to get a hotel room,” the husband said. “We’re really f*cked up.”
I looked at the freezing baby and hesitated for a moment. I gave them all the money in my pocket, but I kept a dollar bill in my hand. Just in case.
“Can we have that too?” they said. As I reached out to give it to them, the dollar bill flew out of my hand and they chased after it in the dark.
Sometimes I focus too much on money. Maybe my coworker really did need to buy his girlfriend a birthday present. Maybe the couple really did need to get a hotel. I don’t know.
What I do know is, when I’ve been broke, I’ve had some of the best moments in my life.
And often when I’ve had a lot of money, I’ve cried and asked “why?” into the sky with no answers.
Money is a byproduct of being healthy. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.
People often think health is a side effect of having money. But it’s not true.
The other day I held up a sign that read “Free Hug.” I was having a bad week. I wanted to do something that would be uncomfortable. To shake things up.
Sometimes you need to shake things up so that the broken pieces can fall back into place.
It was the beginning of a cold February day and people walked passed me wrapped up in their leather jackets and woolen scarves.
Eventually, one girl saw the sign and said, “Oh!”
She gave me a huge hug.
“Have a great day!” she said. Her smile was infectious.
And in that moment I knew. There’s love everywhere in the world. You just have to look for it. You have to be willing to be uncomfortable. You have to be willing to ask.
You have to be willing to keep putting yourself out there.
Seth Godin says, “Without persistence, you never get a chance to get lucky.”
I hope your girlfriend enjoyed her birthday present. And I hope you both found a hotel and kept warm.
If all of you run into me, I’ll give you a free hug.
Author: Efrain Martinez
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Phil Jones