The Restroom Philanthropist


I have always considered the possibility that every life event, in fact every life moment, is in fact loaded with miracles if we just let them occur and watch for the magic. I was reminded of this again just this week when the most basic moment of everyday life eventually turned in to something extraordinary. In June I took part in the Games4change festival in NYC hoping to promote an idea for a video game on philanthropy and at the time was taking a break to answer nature’s inevitable call after six cups of coffee. While I was returning what was left of the water and caffeine consumed during the morning hours I noticed a gentleman enter the restroom to wash off the grime you inevitably pick up in the city. I had a funny feeling that I should meet him and as I had done with virtually everyone I spoke to at the convention I asked if he was enjoying the show and what had driven his decision to attend the event. As we exited back to the show’s lobby I learned that he had recently retired from the software company he founded and was now exploring ways to help children around the world. When I asked him about what his investigations had uncovered thus far he told me that Micro Finance seemed to him to be the best option available for making a difference. We talked about Kiva and its wonderful successes over the years and how so many people had benefited from this creative program dedicated to self-sufficiency. His was not the first response I had received from philanthropists who felt as he did that this kind of investment in people was the best available. Secretly I hoped he might have said something more akin to the work Orchid was doing but I knew that God makes each and every one of us a philanthropist of one kind or another so every mission needing support in the world will have its angels.

He asked me why I was there and I shared a little about Orchid and what makes us unique and I handed him a card suggesting he have a look at our work if he was able to find the time. He then gave me his card and when I returned home I sent him, along with everyone I met at the show, an email of thanks and an invitation to reach out if they noticed anything about Orchid that might line up with their dreams of philanthropic fulfillment. With every note I sent I kept the promise I made to myself when Orchid was conceived and didn’t send another sales pitch to promote my mission over that of another organization or philosophy.

Two months later I received an email reply from the restroom philanthropist asking me to call him. I did so immediately and asked how I could be of service. My friend it turned out was interested in two of the 2013 campaigns that by coincidence had not yet caught fire this year and after a short discussion he offered to fund them both in their entirety with a gift of $10,000.00. I felt the tears form as I realized that another miracle was taking place at that very moment. A miracle I never could have imagined as I stood in the lavatory of a NYC convention. I felt that I was once again being reminded that my prayers were always finding an ear and that even in bathrooms miracles really do happen.

Now tell us about your unlikely miracle and how it changed your life and those of others.    


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