Ali Fatani’s Nicky and the Homeless Man

I worked for a software company as a developer in 2008. I was driving back from work, tired and restless from a long monotonous day. Getting home was a blessing as an over-excited female German shepherd was always eagerly waiting at the front door to welcome me. With her whole body shaking and her tail wagging all over the universe, she could not believe I had returned, once again, from a long day’s work. With a kiss on her cheek and a meet and greet, I thought of taking her out for grocery shopping. So I put on my favorite comfy shorts and a half-sleeve t-shirt while Nicky wore her favorite pink-colored harness and her cool dark brown, original leather leash. I looked like a punk, and she looked like a lady, so I thought, ‘opposites do attract, and that’s why I guess we were meant for each other.

We came across a homeless man while walking toward the grocery store. He was reading his newspaper and smoking a cigarette, with an empty beer can on his right and some other stuff on the left. He also had a skinny white stray dog trying to snuggle around him. As we walked past them, Nicky stopped and wanted to return and say hello to the stray dog, so we did. After a few curious smelling exercises on each other, the two dogs had their share of friendly greetings, and since the man was there, I, too, shared some smiles with him. As we walked ahead, Nicky stopped again at a hot dog stand. With her cute nose, she pointed at the primary hot dog picture, and I ordered one for her, and since she was having one, I got one for myself too. As soon as we got our order, Nicky pulled me back toward the homeless man. She got to where the homeless man was and stood there, staring at the man and his dog, waiting for something to happen. I felt terrible having two delicious hot dogs in my hand in front of a homeless man and his stray dog, who was probably hungry. So my reflex action automatically offered the hot dogs to the homeless man, and he was pleased to have them.

Nicky pulled me toward the grocery store, telling me our job was done here. I was shocked that Nicky was intuitive enough to get the hot dogs for them, not us. As soon as we walked further away from the homeless man, he started a distant conversation. The old man shouted, “What’s your profession?” I replied while calling back, “I’m a software developer for a software company.” While I kept walking farther away, he shouted even louder, saying, “learn to grow, grow to learn, come to me whenever you want to earn.” I smiled awkwardly and nodded after hearing what he had said as we walked away while he was laughing out loud. I later thought that he was probably too happy to receive the hot dogs and said random words to show his gratitude as a reaction.

As we entered the grocery store, Nicky pulled me straight to her favorite section and started her shopping spree by pointing out dog food by her nose. I wanted her to buy whatever she wanted for herself as I was so proud of her kind gesture toward that man we met earlier. I even bought her a new dog toy to play with. It was a lovely day after work when I realized that Nicky was kind, sensible, sensitive, and empathetic towards other people.

Things were going okay, if not great, life was going by, and I was at work every day at 9 am sharp. Until the grips of the great recession were getting tighter, my boss decided on Monday afternoon to let me free from the chains of employment and enter the cage of poverty by firing me. I was left with just enough savings to get through another month, and that other month was right around the corner. If anything was keeping my head up at this moment, it was Nicky and her positive energy.

Many days were spent anxiously thinking about what would happen; next, I needed some hope, and hope was all I had, lying next to me, wagging her tail, smiling at me, and saying, ‘it will be all right.

I remember lying in bed on a Monday night, searching for random inspirational quotes on Google to give me mental strength and inspiration. While searching for random quotes, I remembered what the old homeless man had said to me when I had given him those two hot dogs. So, just for the heck of it, I typed ‘learn to grow, grow to learn, come to me when you want to earn on Google and pressed search. The page opened, and the first link on Google said ‘Tree Top. Welcome to the world’s biggest seed funding company; learn to grow, and grow to learn. 

A little confused and almost sleepy, I clicked on the first link without really paying much attention to what I was doing. As soon as I clicked on the first link, I saw the page loading the picture of the homeless man whom I had met. His image was above the caption ‘meet the CEO of our company Tree Top, the world’s biggest seed funding company. I quickly woke Nicky up and showed her the picture; she wagged her tail, smiled, and then went about her business eating dog food.

I met up with the CEO of Tree Tops, and he told me he’s a billionaire, and when bored, he sits near the hot dog stand as a homeless man to see who helps him out. He thanked me again for the hot dogs and promised to fund my ideas. Today, thanks to Nicky, I own a software house financed by a homeless man who is a billionaire.

If you think miracles don’t happen daily, keep a dog, dogs are miracles. That’s why if you spell God the other way around, it’s a dog.

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