The Lottery of the Heart

Hank Mattimore
March 17, 2017
Reproduced with Permission

People who hit the lottery big are not the only ones to get rich quick.

There's a friend of mine (Call her Annie) , a retired school teacher in her 80's who hit the jackpot last week without even buying a lottery ticket. Annie volunteers her time at a neighborhood public school tutoring 3rd. grade kids in their reading and math.

Annie has been doing this for a number of years. It takes effort on her part because she no longer drives. In fact she has to pay someone to drive her back and forth to school. Twice a week, she pays a driver so that she can continue to help little kids with their school work. I should add that this is a considerable expense for her because she lives in a low income senior complex and doesn't have a lot of money to spare.

So how did this older lady hit the jackpot.? I'll try to tell the story in her own words, but mere words will not begin to convey Annie's excitement when she recalled the morning she hit it big time. Her face as lit up with a smile, ear to ear. Her eyes were shining and she was practically jumping out of her shoes.

"The most wonderful thing happened to me today," she begin. "I've been teaching this little Latino boy by the name of Juan. He's not the brightest of the kids I tutor but I love him because he tries so hard. Anyway, he came over to me after class and I could tell he wanted to say something. Mrs.Annie could I tell you something in private.?"

"Sure Juan, it will be our secret," I told him. Then this little 8 year-old boy whispered in my ear, 'Ms Annie, I think you're pretty.' Well, I was stunned. I just never expected to hear those words. This old heart of mine went flippity-flop. I looked down at the sweet innocence of this little boy and first I wanted to cry and then laugh. Pretty ? The boy said "I think you're pretty." Do you know how long it's been since anyone has called me pretty? Me, an old lady, pretty? Why it was the most beautiful thing he could have said.

"What did you say to the little boy?", I asked. "What could I say? I just stammered a thank you and told him that was a very nice thing to say. Then, he darted back to class leaving this old woman with a warm and deep feeling in my heart for the rest of the day. "

"That's a great story," I said, "must have felt like you won the lottery." " No", she answered,"better... way better."