“Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.” ~Norman Vincent Peale When I was in 11th grade I decided I wanted to raise a pig for the county fair. I went to Atwater High, an agricultural town, and always had an interest. But I never had the money or the space.
My best friend, Kilie, was raising her first pig at her Papa’s house in the country and I wanted to also. I told my parents what I wanted to do and they said I could. The only catch was, I needed to come up with the money and find a place to raise it. I asked Papa if he would be willing to allow me to use his property and if he would lend me money for food and supplies. I would repay him once I sold the pig at auction. He said yes.
I had another hurdle to overcome. How was I going to buy the pig? It was over $200 and I only had a week to get the money. I tried to think of who I could borrow the money from, but had nopromising prospects. As I was walking home from school one day, an idea took me on a little detour to the County Bank. I walked into the bank and got in line like any other customer. When the teller asked, “How can I help you?” I responded, “Who makes the decisions here?” I didn’t know to ask for the branch manager. Caught by surprise, she walked me over to the branch manager. As I walked into his office, I suddenly got nervous, realizing I had no idea what I was doing or what I was to say. But since I had the manager’s time and attention, I described the situation and expressed my determination to raise a pig for the fair. I built my case as a “qualified borrower,” by sharing that I had a 4.0 GPA and a plan for re-payment. I can still see his facial expressions, clearly revealing his desire to help me. He asked me to provide a copy of my report card, a referral letter from one of my teachers and written consent from my parents. By the next day, I signed an unsecured promissory note for $240 and I had my money to buy my pig.
I was so excited to pick out my pig. Every day afterschool I would go feed him and clean up his pin. As the fair approached, I began to hear other students talking about “their buyers.” As I probed to find out what they meant by “buyers” I learned that most of the kids’ parents had connections and arrangements for who would be buying their pig. My heart sank and for the first time feared the possibility of not being able to pay back my debts to Papa and to the bank.
As I walked home heavy hearted, my wheels were spinning, “Who was going to buy my pig?” And just about the time I was walking by Lucky (our local grocery store) I thought, “Meat department!” So, I walked in, went strait to customer service and asked who was in charge of the meat department. They ended up connecting me with the store manager, Roy Torres. As I began to explain my dilemma, I saw Roy’s eyes light up and I could see he too wanted to help me. He assured me that my pig would be purchased at auction.
When the day of the auction arrived, I saw Roy out in the stands. My heart was overjoyed when he won the bid and purchased my pig. I not only sold my pig and paid back my debts, but also earned a few extra bucks for my pocket. The next year I repeated the entire event, with the help of the bank and Roy and successfully sold my second pig. It was the second year that I realized that the Lucky meat department didn’t buy my pig. Roy did. It brings tears of appreciation to my eyes, even today.
So, what is the moral of this story? There are many. Where there is a will there is way. No one succeeds alone. What message do you get from this story? When I find myself feeling stuck, like my hands are tied, I remember back to my pig story and how determined I was to accomplish my goals. I choose to live with that same belief, determination and zeal. Whatever you want for your life, you can have it. You just gotta take it one step at a time. You are creative, resourceful and able to accomplish anything you want!