Nash(RealAcad Stanford’07), a great friend, said this story perfectly described RealAcad’s(www.realacad.org) impact on his life.. Great story.. :)
There was once a young reporter that was hired by a big national newspaper. He was very ambitious and extremely eager to build a reputation as a well-recognized journalist. In doing so, he went inquiring to each of the head journalists at his newspaper, asking how they got their first big break. Without fail each one of them said that they got their big break by going out and finding a story that no one else was able to get.
After some questioning around, the young reporter discovered that no one had ever been able to get an interview with a man that was believed to be one of the richest men in the whole county, who also happened to live nearby. So the young reporter set out for the country, turning down dirt roads and gravel paths in search for this man. After many hours, the sun was beginning to set and the young reporter finally admitted he was lost. He pulled into a long, dirt driveway and as he came up on a modest farmhouse, he happened to see an old man sitting on the porch. He approached the man and began describing his hopes to locate this farmer in hopes of landing an interview with him. The farmer told the boy to sit down and that he had indeed come to the right place.
The young reporter was so surprised; he couldn’t imagine that such a wealthy man would be living on a farm in the middle of nowhere. He proceeded to eagerly ask the man, “So how did you get to be one of the richest men in the country?” The old farmer began to explain to the young reporter that his parents had come over from the old country and spent every dime they had to purchase a very small plot of land, the very spot on which the house now sat. His parents worked hard to take care of the land and as soon as he was old enough, he too would wake up at the crack of dawn and feed the animals, run the tractor and help plan new crops.
By the time he was a young man, not much older than the young reporter, his parents had passed away. He had grown tired of working day and night on that farm and had his sights set on a more exciting life. So he sold the farm, took all of the money and headed west in search of adventure. He soon came across a town with flashing lights, shows and casinos. Consumed by the excitement, he soon found himself placing one coin after the next into slot machines, sure that he would land his fortune.
Before he knew it, he dropped the last coin in the machine and to his dismay, lost. Completely broke and utterly depressed, he quickly became sick to his stomach. He flew as fast as he could to the bathroom. As he approached to open a stall door, he realized that they were pay toilets and required ten cents to enter. Barely holding the sickness down, he began walking from person to person begging for change. People waked by without even giving him a glance, as if he were not even there. Finally a man walking by, without even looking in his direction, flipped a dime in his direction. He grabbed the dime and made a b-line for the bathroom. Just as he was about to drop the dime in the coin slot, the door came swinging open and the man walking out held it open for him.
After finishing his business, he was on his way out of the casino, dejected and upset that he had lost everything that his parents had spent their entire lives to earn, when he dropped the coin in a slot machine and kept walking. A few seconds later, he began to hear bells going off. When he turned around he saw the lights from the machine lighting up and he realized that he had won. Money began pouring out the machine and after counting it all, he realized that he had won the exact amount that he had sold his parents farm for, almost to the penny. He took that money, went back to the farm and bought back his parent’s land that he had sold. He spent day and night working that land and as soon as he had saved enough money, he bought the lot of land next to him. He kept working hard and when he saved up enough he bought more land and then hired workers to help. Until one day he had bought up all the land the eye could see in every direction and more.
With his jaw dropped, the young reporter was completely captured by the farmer’s story. When he was able to gather his thoughts, the young reporter asked, “So I bet if you ever found the man that gave you that dime, you would give him half of your fortune?” The farmer paused for a minute and then replied, “Nope. I would probably just give him his dime back. But if I could find the man that opened the door for me, now I would give that man half of my fortune.”