It’s happened to me more times than I can remember but let me share two examples that have shaped me till this day and that may shed some light on why I started Thx!
I was maybe 7 years old when I won a Christmas basket at our church’s carnival. It contained an assortment of sweets and goodies that made my eyes pop and my lips drool. We never had those sweets at home. We weren’t rich. With seven children to feed, food was healthy and nourishing but never luxurious. So, this was an unusual treat for me. I thought this must be how it feels to be rich.
My parents made me return it and offer to have it raffled so a less fortunate family could win the prize. I was devastated.
Years later I realized the lesson they had given me that day: No matter how poor you think you are, you are always rich if you are able to give something away to someone needier. I’ve felt rich ever since.
The other story comes from many years later when I helped start a school at the plant where I was manager. The school allowed our workers to attain an elementary school level degree and qualified them for trade school.
Our plant had numerous union issues, some real, some made up. Well, it happened that one of the union leaders, aptly nicknamed “The killer whale”, attended that school.
One day he shows up in my office and tells me we need to talk. It’s never good when that happens. Right?
He told me Mr. Fernandez, you are young and cocky and inexperienced, so you won’t understand what I am going to tell you. But someday you will.
“I have 5 children. Last night my youngest, asked me to help him with his homework. For the first time in my life, I could. I could help one of my children with his homework!
And I owe this to you and your stupid school!”. It changed this man’s life and it changed the whole union-management relationship and the plant became extremely successful.
Later in life, now with four children and eight grandchildren, I can grasp the full extent of my parent’s and this man’s wisdom.
So, why do I do this? Because I’ve come to realize that I can’t change the world but with small acts that validate a person’s sense of self-worth, we all have the power to let the best of what’s inside them come out. And that will change their life forever.
That is what Thx! is all about. Can you grasp the enormous transformational power that your gesture of choosing one of our clamshells in order to help a faraway farm worker fulfill a dream? What it means to them that someone so far away cares about his or her fate?
You my friend, have in your hands the power to change the world!
Raul U Fernandez