Friday, 21 November 2014

Humanity and compassion abound

 It was the time of Christmas festive season for revellers
Detroit City seen from a distance
There was an unbroken tradition existed in a large corporate company in Detroit City, Michigan, USA. The internationally acclaimed company held their annual dinner and dance without fail every year on Christmas Eve. Attendance was overwhelmingly successful as there were always attractions of lucky draws that offered fanciful and handsome prizes that included overseas travels, electrical appliances and even cash rewards too.  For the imminent event this year the president cum CEO of the company had suggested that every participant should contribute $50 so as to pool the amount together with the winner of the top prize bringing the cash prize home. The president also pledged to contribute another $10,000 on top of the grand prize. With the number of staff signing up to attend the Christmas Eve function exceeded 300, it could be a hefty sum.

Thomas Bellushi strolled into the company's assembly hall where the dinner and dance was to be held with some positive anticipation. He was anticipating to win some prizes. At the registration counter he was given two slips of paper for which he must write his name on them and slide one each into two large ballot boxes made of paper cartons. One of the ballot box was labelled "Various prizes" and the other one was labelled "Grand Cash prize". Thomas was hesitant  when he was about to jot his name onto the paper as he caught a glimpse  of the office cleaner lady, the janitor Maria De Costa, who sat quietly and alone at one corner of the hall. Though she was well dressed for the dance and dinner party, she somehow displayed a frown, melancholic expression.

A janitor at work diligently
A smiling janitor at work posed
for a good picture taken.
                             The annual dinner would begin soon 
                      as all were seated waiting for the speech to end.

Thomas knew well the plight of the black lady janitor Maria - her teenage son was suffering a complex ailment that needed surgery as soon as possible. It was obvious that she could not raise the sufficient fund as a single mother with her meagre income. He made up his mind at that spur of moment and wrote "Maria De Costa" on one piece of paper and slid it into the ballot box through a  small opening. Thomas knew well his chance to help Maria winning the grand prize stood merely at odds of 1 over 300, but with a bit of luck, Maria could be a happier person. He then placed another piece of paper bearing his name into the other ballot box.

A stash of lucky draw ballots
filled the paper carton box

The most crucial moment arrived at the close of the merry making Christmas dinner and dance when it ended around midnight. The president was ushered to step onto the stage. He slowly slid his hand into the ballot box and promptly pick up a piece of paper after reshuffling the papers few times.  He then read out loud through the public address: Maria De Costa is the winner of the Grand Cash Prize! Maria was shocked beyond belief as she stepped forward to collect her prize, a mocked cheque prepared before hand from the president. She was seen with tears rolling down her cheeks and heard wailing loudly and exclaiming that her son would be saved since she had the fund to pay for the surgery cost now.

A surgery was carried out intensely
Thomas Bellushi was taken aback. He was pleasantly surprised that his small effort in helping the janitor lady could materialised. He walked past the stage as the MC kept on announcing the names of the winners of the secondary prizes. He caught sight of the ballot box that was labelled Grand Cash Prize, which was then left aside at one corner of the stage without any body paying attention to it. Curiosity got the better of him as he plunged his hand into the ballot box and took out a bundle of the papers. He mind was thrown off immensely when he discovered the name "Maria De Costa" was written on all the small pieces of paper! Thomas was overcome with an urge of emotion outburst as he sat on the carpeted floor covering his face with his hands. He realised that there were real miracles during the Christmas festive season, but miracles would not come down to the earthy world out of the blues. They needed to be sought and created.

A true story found in the net with
names of characters changed.

Alan CY Kok


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