As a young kid, he didn’t have many options once he discovered that his father abandoned him at boarding school. Stranded and with no way to pay off his constantly-rising debt, he expected to be handed a bill for the total cost of room and board along with his diploma. As an 18-year-old fresh out of high school, starting life with a large amount of debt didn’t seem like the greatest way to begin, but he was ready to try…
On September 14th, 1986, my dad dropped me off at boarding school and gave me a five dollar bill. I never heard from him again. He never paid my tuition bill.
So from the age of 14, I took every job I could get and worked my way through. At $4 an hour, I didn’t even come close to paying off my entire bill, but the school let me stick around because I was a model student in and out of the classroom.
We get to graduation. I opened my little diploma thing expecting to see a bill in five figures. Instead there was a note.
Congratulations on your graduation. A group of us who believe in you and love you have taken care of your bill. We are proud to present you with your diploma.”
I later found out that one of my friend’s dad, a fairly well off dentist, went fund raising among his golf buddies because he was having none of my entering life at eighteen under crushing debt.
Since it was his father’s debt, he most likely wouldn’t have been responsible for it and it would have been up to the school to find his father and demand payment…but this grand gesture by people who had admired his drive and determination decided that he should be given the best chance in life: a fresh start. With nothing holding him back, he was able to face life with a new determination.
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