I always think the two major factors determine if we will succeed are talent and opportunity. As college students, we are exploring our talents and study what we are interested in. If the opportunity matches with the talent, whether it is explored, it could lead to a big success. This is a short story that reflects the idea and is partially based on a real story I heard.


“How did I become a billionaire?” I repeat the question from the reporter “I have nothing to tell but say “that is my fate.”

Decades ago, I lived day by day. I was sitting on the street, begging for pennies. People shuttled back and forth before me, and hardly dropped some coins. I only saw the shadows of those pedestrians. If you asked me what I thought of billionaires at that time, I would tell you either they inherited a lot of money from their families or they did some illegal things. Yes, I was hopeless, but I felt like I was waiting for something. I am Richard, and I was a “poor” guy if you believe “rich” is the term for billionaires.

I used the money left to get some beer and fell asleep on the street. I was waked up by the crowds. I was annoyed not only because of their “trespassing” but only huge noises. I lifted myself and approached the crowds and signs.

“You! Yes, you, what are you guys doing here! …doing here!”

“Are you a vete…..”

“What?” “Are you a veteran?”

“Veteran?  I am…(not)”

“Hey! Hey! He is a veteran! He is a veteran! He was in Vietnam War!”

I realized it was a protest against the involvement of in the Vietnam War when I was pushed to the front of crowds. “He is going to give a speech” “Peace! Speech! Peace! Speech! Peace! Speech!” I was overwhelmed by thousands of protesters and I was not going to deny that. I didn’t feel I was inferior because I was a beggar but unprecedentedly conceited.  The only question was that was any veteran like me? I stood on the platform in the National Mall before of tons of people. I raised my hand to grasp the microphone, acting like Hitler. “President Roosevelt said we feared because fear itself but we are not here for fear, but for care! We care about America, we care about our future generations……..God bless peaceful America!”  I felt like a teenager complaind his father in front of Grand Juries in a court. Applause, applause and applause. And I had a weird thought that I hoped they would have threw me out of platform.

After the speech, a man bought me a burger. He asked me join his group called “Leave Vietnam” which raised money to persuade congressmen for stopping Vietnam. He told me they had have raised five hundred grands dollars. I didn’t know if it was true, but I might be right, I didn’t need those four quarters and ten dimes to buy a hot dog. They used me to instigate audiences that they could salvage the money, and I got paid, which was a fair deal. So I did some speech in the following six years which I thought were bullshits. When these shitty words delivered to protesters’ ears, they became gold because those were what they need. I received the latest news and was taught to be contagious. “When I first heard My Lai Massacre, I was shocked, totally shocked. Our armies are not taught to democratize Vietnam but taught to kill Vietnamese. Vietnamese are suffered, so do our children. They are from democratic country but act like communists; they are supposed to go to college but work as butcher; they serve for our people not for the devil. We need them bring them back to our huge. LEAVE VIETNAM!” On Jan 27th 1973, the news spread that four parties made an agreement on ending the war in Paris and America was going to withdraw our troops. At end of 1974, our group dissolved and I got four hundred grands. I thought they probably shared the donations, but I didn’t care.

I didn’t use the money to invest and I didn’t have any minds like that. I knew a lot of people who got millionaires of dollars from investment, but I was not those people. I spent my time to enjoy the life; I lavished my money to parties and Las Vegas where I met my wife in the second time. I encountered her when I was in a banquet for the rich. I was doing the same thing giving speech about Vietnam to raise fund for our group. She was with her father. We had a dance and some conversations. She liked my character as a veteran elocutionist. I made up numberless stories both in platforms and battle fields. She recognized me when I met her in the second time. I knew it was she and she was the daughter of a billionaire in California. We reconnected and I could tell that she had the hots for me. It was another fair deal. By the way, her name was Alisha and she was beautiful.

We were going to get married. I called my brother who I lost touch for years, I told him they asked me to sign hundreds of papers and agreements for assets and management. The wedding was gorgeous. I knew, I was “rich” if you believe the term “poor” is for beggars. My “honor military background” was added to their family history and they intended to use my speech talent. Finally, I became a partner in their partnerships in some companies.

In 2003, her father died and his fortunes passed to her and his older brother. She, no, my family got $739,572,834.23 cash; equal $843,635.298.35 stocks; equal $1,492,623.253.03 real estate.

I began to use money to invest. Like most of billionaires, I put my money on somewhere and wait. Nowadays, I like to invest some environment companies because I live in California.

“So, what is your suggestion to our young kids” The reporter amplifying his voice, “Recapping the big things in my life, people have different ways to get rich. I am not that lucky to win a lottery, but I am not that bad to lose my fate. I always suggest them to try more things that they haven’t experienced and to be brave and confident.”




5 thoughts on “A story

  1. Kevin, I liked your story. The two major factors of talent and opportunity might be a good start, but persistence would definitely be another quality. The idea that this guy was persistent with his charade and confident about it helped out. The timing of everything was a factor, too. And then there is marrying in to money– that, I’m sure is another story for another time.


  2. Opportunity matching talent is an incredibly interesting concept to explore. Like Steve said, I really enjoyed this story; it kind of fits well as I have just finished my post on storytelling, so call it fate! The rhetoric used by the main character is one I feel has been used by countless men and women before; when the circumstances are right and the person has the aptitude/knowledge of the right things to say, the stars align. Awesome take on this!


  3. This is an interesting story to say the least. I do agree talent can be used for profit. There is this saying, “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.” As for opportunity, yes and no. Yes, in the fact that some times opportunity will shine for you to use that talent; and no, because I believe we should seek opportunities rather than wait for them. Taking the time to do something you wouldn’t normally consider may be insightful. Overall, this was an interesting story. One thing I am curious on, is which of the blogs it fits into for our class. All in all, good post!


  4. Really unique post you got here! It is so hard to get the opportunities that we think we deserve but our abilities and talent can overall help us reach these goals that we have. I do believe that everything happens for a reason and the factors that we put in place can all work together to work to our advantage if we let it. Thanks for sharing your story with us!


  5. Kevin, Your biography on Winston Churchill was very good. He was a great influence for the British people. The quote that interested me was: Churchill said, “Rhetorical power was neither wholly bestowed, nor wholly acquired, but cultivated.” I think this is a good perspective. It seems that just certain circumstances in life bring out the right words, and that rhetorical power is then what makes the difference when it is time to persuade and inspire people.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s