Making a Difference Without Asking for Anything in Return
What we can learn from these people who don't want credit for doing something good.
If you leave me now, you'll take away the biggest part of me.
No baby please don't go.
And if you leave me now you'll take away the very heart of me.
No baby please don't go, no I just want you to stay.
Classic lines. Classic rock band Chicago. Love the band. Love the moment. Fact is I'm standing so close to them I can almost see their nasal hairs... and who doesn't want to see that? This surreal moment... brought to you by an extraordinarily generous man you will never know.
He's anonymous. He wants it that way.
Let me back up a minute. Every year "Mr. Amazing" (that's what we'll call him) throws a charity party in his backyard. Every year the he signs and pays for big, big music acts. This year: Peter Frampton (yep, that's him, above right) and the aforementioned Chicago.
They play in HIS BACKYARD!
Here's the kicker. Nearly 3000 folks pay hundreds of dollars each to attend. All of the money goes to charity. All of it! This year the event raised in the area of 400-thousand dollars.
The dollars will help special needs kids with hand built special bicycles and reading devices. Other dollars from the concert revenue help with mental help initiatives. That's just the tip of the spear of greatness. This fundraiser has helped more than thirty charities. It's astounding. All of the costs of the night... the bands... the set up... in the area of a half million dollars.paid for by the anonymous donor.
I'll tell ya just how anonymous. I have a talk show. This year we broadcast from the bedroom balcony of Mr Amazing's house. I grabbed him as he tried to sneak into his own bathroom. Hey Mr. Anonymous. Please let me talk to you on the radio about this wonderful thing you're doing? Please Mr. Wonderful. He ran out of the room. I'm serious.
I watched him throughout the night. He helped special needs folks in wheelchairs get to their seating. He sat with senior citizens he invited to the big bash for free. He picked up trash. He got people drinks and food. He did it all with a smile. He's amazing. His wife...the same.
Margaret Ursta and me in her under-construction house.
I've seen this before. The Ursta house. They're the McKeesport couple. They volunteered at Ground Zero after 9/11. Nick and Margaret Ursta helped with search and rescue. Nick contracted mesothelioma, it appears from the asbestos in the rubble. Nick is fighting for his life. We are remodeling their dream home from the roof to the basement.
Workers putting a roof on the Ursta's house for free. Their boss insists on staying anonymous.
The roof was ruined. $30-thousand to replace. A local contractor did it for free. He put a 30-thousand dollar roof on the Ursta's house for free! The only caveat? DON'T USE MY NAME . We didn't. He thanked US!
We live in a "look at me" world. Our culture dictated by social media trolls and radicalized internet zombies. We judge rich folks as narcissistic tax cheats. Yet...every day I find a wealthy man or woman who uses their money to make a difference... and refuses recognition.
It was writer Eric Fromm who wrote, "Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much."
In the end, that's all that matters... right? We try to make a difference every day here at Sparkt. I'm hoping you try to do the same.