His name is Tony (a re-life)

A short story of watching someone find life and themselves, again.

Lisa Ingemi   (Master Librarian & Linguist)   Edited and Published by: Chris Stakutis

978 764 3488     August 2014   Author/CTO www.concordsoftwareandexecutiveconsulting.com

It began like any other day. Patrons coming in and out of the library. Some checking out books, others sitting to read the daily papers. While others just looking for a place to stay cool in the heat of a summer’s day.

A young man came in to use our public computers. Since I have worked at the same place for 20 plus years, I recognize someone new easily. He definitely had a distinctive look. Not only is he a very handsome young man, but he has very large tattoos on his neck-- not something you see every day.

Now day after day, this young man continues to come in throughout the day to use the internet. One day after several weeks he mentioned he’s looking for work. Because I know many people in town, I ask him what kind of work he does. He tells me landscaping. I happen to know someone who might need an extra pair of hands and ask him to give me his information to pass on to my friend. His face lights up -- I don’t think he’s used to people reaching out -- imagine that.

I notice day after day, Tony continues to come to the library to check on job prospects. His expression has changed from apprehensive to something I recognize as gratitude and hope. On a recent visit, Tony asks for my opinion on some job offers he’s received. I give him my advice and I’m happy he takes it.

A few days later, Tony sees me outside the building and approaches me nervously and begins. “Hi”, he says, “are you leaving for the day?”

“No” I reply, “what’s up?”

“I have a question and I’m a bit embarrassed, but is it possible you might loan me two or three dollars? I just need to get something to eat.”

Now my first thought is two or three dollars isn’t going to buy much food for sure. Secondly, I could not imagine the feeling of helplessness he must have had just to get up the courage to ask a virtual stranger and the fear of rejection he might get. I told him I’d meet him back inside.

I reached inside my wallet and pulled out ten dollars and slipped it to him and told him no need to pay me back. The look on the young man’s face was both happy and heartbreaking. I have never felt happier to hand over a few dollars to someone as it felt as much a gift to myself as it was to him.

The symbolism went way beyond financial.

It was a symbol of friendship to another. A feeling that none of us are alone in this world, and without each other, none of us would prosper. My hope is that someday, this young man will not only succeed but thrive and hopefully find someone to pass on the opportunity that only comes from helping others help themselves.

His name is Tony.

© 2014 Chris Stakutis is an independent consultant, author, and software creator available to help your business.