A lonely old man befriends a bright and very poor young man from his neighborhood. He later decides to help him achieve his dream, and his kindness is not forgotten.
Albert was tired of life. “Why don’t I die?” he asked God. “What am I doing here, wasting oxygen? My wife is dead, my friends are dead. Let me go!”.
But a calm voice spoke in Albert’s heart: “You still have work to do, and many good times to enjoy.” He knew he wasn’t going to rest anytime soon.
The man shakes his head. “Why am I even talking to you?” he complained. “You never tell me what I want to hear!”
The voice in Albert’s head sounded amused. “Because you are such a curmudgeon that no one else will listen to you!”
Albert grumbled, but he guessed the voice was right. He was sad, angry and lonely, and he tended to push people away, even without meaning to.
He decided to go sit on his porch and work on some knots. Albert had been a sergeant in the Marines and sometimes, for fun, he would tie the different knots and frame them.
He was tying a complex knot when he realized he had company. There was a boy hanging on the fence beside her, watching him. “What do you want?” he asked in his rough voice.
“Hello, sir,” said the boy. “What are you doing? It looks good interesting!”.
“Very interesting,” Albert corrected. “If you want to talk to me, do it properly.”
“Yes, sir,” said the boy. “What are you doing?”.
“I’m tying knots,” Albert said. “Before, on sailing ships, these knots were all that stood between a sailor and certain death.”
The boy’s mouth dropped open and his eyes widened as he listened to Albert’s stories about the sea and big ships and all kinds of adventures.
From that day on, the boy, Robert, was there to listen to the man’s stories every day after school. Albert noticed that the boy was too skinny, so he started making him sandwiches.
He learned that the boy had seven siblings and that the family was struggling. “My brother Fred works at the sawmill,” Robert said. “I guess as soon as he turns eighteen I’ll be working there too.”
“And what about the university?” Albert asked. “You’re a smart kid, you could go far.”
Robert shrugged. “No one in my family has ever gone to college. My mom says it’s no use dreaming about what you can’t have,” he said.
“And what do you want, Robert?” Albert asked quietly. “Impossible dreams change the world, remember that!”
“I want to be a lawyer,” Robert confessed. “But…”.
“We’ll see what the future holds for us,” Albert said. “Just study and make sure that when your opportunity comes, you are ready!”
The years passed. Robert grew up and Albert continued to grow old, and they became the best of friends.
“This is your senior year, right, Robert?” Albert asked.
Robert nodded and said, “Yeah, I’m starting at the sawmill next year. My dad already talked to the boss.”
“What about the university?” Albert asked, very annoyed. “You’ve always wanted to go to college!”
“That was our little dream, Albert,” said Robert sadly. “But there’s no money for college.”
“Of course there is!” said Albert. He got up, went to his desk and took out his checkbook. He wrote a check and gave it to Robert. “That’s for the first year’s tuition, plus living expenses.”
“I can’t take your money, Albert!” Robert protested.
“Robert, I am 79 years old,” the old man said. “I don’t pay rent and I don’t eat much. My wife and I never had children, so the money has been piling up. I want you to have it. Please let me feel that I have helped someone to have a better life.”
Robert took the money that year, and the next few years until graduation. Once he passed the bar exam, he started working very hard.
The day Albert turned 89 years old, Robert appeared. “Come on, old man!” He told him. “We go for a walk!”.El día que Albert cumplió 89 años, apareció Robert. “¡Vamos, viejo!”, le dijo. “¡Vamos a dar una vuelta!”.
Robert took Albert to the marina and the two men went for a walk.
“What do you think of this one?” Robert asked, pointing out a fancy luxury yacht to his old friend.
“Impressive,” Albert said. “Looks clean as a pin and should handle whitewater well too!”
“Why don’t we take it out?” Robert asked, smiling.
Albert exclaimed. “It’s yours? Oh really?”.
Robert hugged his old friend. “That’s right, Albert, it’s part of the impossible dream you told me I would achieve, but I wouldn’t have any of it if it wasn’t for you!”
What can we learn from this story?
If we help someone to have a better life, we have done something worthwhile: Albert was delighted to help Robert become a lawyer and make his dreams come true.
Don’t give up because your dreams seem impossible: It’s when we achieve the impossible that we change the world for the better.
Share this story with your friends. It could brighten their day and inspire them.
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