He is in a foreign country.
With a few good friends.
A small room where he lives and studies.
He eats simple meals with few treats.
He has no transport except his skateboard (and public transport of course.)
He goes to university and studies hard.
He doesn’t have affluent parents or rich grandparents.
There’s no extra money except money to pay for his studies and his accommodation and his food.
He looks for a part-time job to make up the deficit and to enable him to save some money for his visit to the country of his birth at the end of the year.
In this foreign country, with no hired ‘help’, no casual job is frowned upon.
He applies for positions, but a lot of students are looking for part-time work, and most of them are citizens, so the ‘foreigner’ will most definitely not get any preference.
And then a position is advertised.
And he applies.
And optimistically goes for an interview, where they are very impressed with him (of course they are!)
And they offer him the job (of course they do!)
He immediately phones his mom to tell her that he got the job – with excitement and joy in his voice.
She’s happy for him too, but she can almost not swallow because of the huge lump in her throat.
She tries to sound happy and chatty and she laughs at his jokes and when he says goodbye, she’s almost sure he didn’t hear that she could hardly breathe.
The next week he sends his mom a picture of him working, with his work gear clearly visible in the background.
She sends him a lot of smiley faces, puts her mobile phone down, slowly sits down on her bed and the next moment warm tears are streaming down her face.
She buries her wet face in his pillow that he left behind and imagines that she can still smell his aftershave.
She cries and cries and cries – for things that have happened and those that haven’t yet.
And as the final sobs let go of her body, she smiles.
Yes, she smiles when she thinks of him.
It’s a smile with a twinge that physically hurts her heart, but she cannot stop smiling.
Because this child. THIS child was something else!
He would do and go and be where no one else would.
He would smile and wave and bear difficult things with great patience and even greater positivity.
He would live and study and function in a foreign country on a different continent amongst strange people and a culture he doesn’t know – things most adults won’t be able to do – with a smile.
He knew that he would desperately miss his girlfriend and his mom and his friends and his family left behind in his homeland.
He knew that the sacrifice will be huge and that the returns may not even show immediately.
Yet he went anyway.
And he knew that taking a part-time job would enable him to save up to spoil his girlfriend and mom and everyone he cares for when he eventually gets to visit his home country again, but that other people may frown upon it.
He also knew that there was no place for pride or arrogance in his life.
That the person he is, is the same person he wants to be when he is ‘successful’ by the rest of the world’s standards.
He wanted to stay humble and authentic and dedicated and unpretentious.
And because he knew that egotism would never have a place in his life.
Because he is humble, unselfish and strong.
He took the job with gratefulness and pride.
And he does it to the best of his ability (with his charming smile and quirky jokes I’m sure!)
He is the best cleaner that Wellington has ever seen!
(Kevin, I am so proud of you! My heart cannot contain it. Many people I know have done great things in this world. But this, this has touched me profoundly. May your willingness to humble yourself to be a cleaner to make a better life for yourself and those you love, lead to the most amazing blessings in your life. May you forever laugh and smile and shine and be happy and healthy and wealthy! May you always remember and know and be secure in the knowledge that your mother is the proudest mom on the planet. You make me infinitely proud. And I love you my son. I love you so very much. Jou Moeder xx)
The most amazing cleaner in the whole of New Zealand!!