This is an honest to goodness true story with only the names changed to protect the identity of people I know. I have a close friend here in Colombia named Lucia, who in turn has a brother-in-law named Sebastian. Sebastian is in his late thirties but in many ways has the heart of a child. He is generous to a fault and believes in miracles. He was bullied through school for being different and people have consistently taken advantage of his generosity. His own family has tried to get him to “grow up” and “stop giving papaya” (a Colombian expression for putting oneself in a situation where one can be taken advantage of) but Sebastian continues to believe in the goodness of people.
Sebastian did not have many friends until he joined the Chia Chorus (the chorus in our little town outside of Bogota), which apparently is one of the best in the world. In the chorus, he was accepted by the others who are mostly teenagers and young men and appreciate his loving and trusting nature. A few months ago, Sebastian even made a friend in the chorus. His name is Victor.
This is when the story turns into a fairytale. You see, the chorus was sent on a tour to a few cities in Europe, an amazing thing given that many of the members are from extremely poor families. Victor is one of them. The plane tickets and lodgings were paid for but the kids still needed some spending money. Sebastian brought along $600 but Victor was so poor that all that his family could come up with was a couple of dollars. How was he going to survive for ten days in Europe with such a paltry sum of cash?
Luckily Victor had a friend like Sebastian, who shared his $600 with him. Anytime Sebastian bought anything for himself, he would buy the same thing for Victor. There were a few other kids in the chorus who came from wealthier families and brought more money but they did not share and seemed to enjoy showing off their funds.
So here is the twist to this story. Victor’s dad was German but his parents split up when he was very young. It was an acrimonious divorce and Victor basically hasn’t seen his dad or his dad’s family in many, many years. He knew however that his paternal grandfather lives in Frankfurt, one of the places he would be visiting with the chorus, so he decided to get in touch with him. Victor’s grandfather was very happy to hear from him and invited him and his friend, Sebastian over to his house.
Well, the house turned out to be a mansion and the grandfather turned out to be a very wealthy man! (I swear this is true!) He was so happy to be reunited with his grandson and so pleased that his grandson had such a generous friend who had shared his money with him that he invited both of them to come live in Germany. Grandpa offered to finance their education. He also invited the entire chorus, and Sebastian and his entire family (including, girlfriend, parents, siblings and my friend Lucia with her husband and two kids) on a first-class trip to Germany, Italy, Paris, Moscow and Tokyo. They leave on January 7th.
They are all very excited. And what happened to the kids who flouted their money and wouldn’t share with those who did not have much? Well, Victor is not inviting them along on the world tour. What’s the moral of the story kids?