“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Two hours after completing a grueling lunch shift, I tended to an empty barbeque restaurant – slicing lemons, arranging ketchups, refilling salt shakers – doing my best to bide the time and not worry about college. The phone rang – a relative rarity for 3:30pm on a Tuesday afternoon. I submitted the take-out order into the computer system.

Twenty minutes later, my take-out orderer arrived – an elderly gentleman. His food was being finished, so we got to talking; he wanted to know about my life, what I was going to do, who I was going to be. He told me that he was picking up food for his wife, who was too ill to come outside, but who loved our food. I fetched his soup and sandwich, and he handed me a hundred-dollar bill. "Keep it," he told me. "Use it to grab your dreams and don't let go. And when you are my age, do the same thing for a kid you see has promise."

I didn't know this man particularly well, but I like to imagine how much he and his wife enjoyed their soup. His faith in me pushed me to work harder, and to dream bigger. I want to inspire others to do the same, even if it costs me a few hundred-dollar bills.


— Josh Solera