Not Just Another Co-op Story

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He is going to college soon. He constantly dream about it throughout the day and even during the night. He waited with a fiery determination because he had no other option. So he would do all means to make it happen. His high school graduation was just a few days ago but he is consumed by the thought of what a college student feels like. He hasn’t heard a word from his parents yet so he kept this eager anticipation to himself. He will make his parents proud of him, he promised silently.

One day, his daydreaming was interrupted when he heard a knock on the door. It was his parents wanting to talk to him. His heart skipped a bit because they rarely do this. Something tells him this is not a good sign but he puts his hopes high despite the uncertainties of the moment. Besides, they were his only source of support and encouragement. Never in his young life did he experience being forsaken or abandoned. Naturally, he was expecting some good news. Oh, if he could only see the agonizing feeling deep in the hearts of his parents.

This day was not something that they look forward to. They dreaded it. How they wish they could go back in time where the kids saturate the house with joy and laughter never worrying about college expenses. But they have to do it. They looked at him with concealed sadness. Slowly, his father cleared his throat pretending to push out some foreign object that was clogging it. The conversation went something similar to this.

“Son, I know how much you desire to study. We have noticed your perseverance. We would like you to continue and pursue your dreams. However, as of this time we cannot finance your tuition”. They paused giving their son to compose himself and say something in response. When there was silence, they proceeded. “As you know, your brother is already in college and we cannot send you both. It is financially impossible. So, we have thought about it with your mom and we decided to let your brother finish his studies first then you will be the next. We only hope you understand how difficult this is on our part.”

Again, they stop to give their son an opportunity to say what was in his mind. They have replayed the possibilities in their minds of what might happen. He would cry.  Then he would plea. And he would bargain. Like what you normally watch in a soap opera.

Confidently, he looked at his parents and they were all ears anxious of what he would be saying. He did plea. He did bargain. But he did not cry. He told them something they never thought about. It was his secret since he was in elementary. “You know, there was this co-op nearby. I have been saving a part of my daily allowance in this co-op”, he finally revealed. “I think I have saved enough to cover a down payment for my college tuition.”

Speechless, his father and mother did not know how to react. Of course, they were surprised but more importantly, they were grateful for having a son like that. Eventually, the plan went through exactly as what the son had suggested. Together, they withdrew his savings and off he goes to the halls of higher learning.

This couple did all that they can, in an effort to unload their guilt and shame, to raise the same amount with the purpose of replacing it. When it was time, they were the ones crying on their way to the co-op intending to return their son’s savings.

You have just read a true story. It is a common occurrence in almost every household in this country but what is uncommon is when the co-op somehow offered a twist in the story which somehow altered the way the story is suppose to end as we expected it. It was not a big bank, it was not a rich neighbor, it was not a relative from abroad, it was not even an Indian National (Bombay) that came to the rescue. The deus ex machina was a friendly neighborhood co-op.

All of us can all learn from this story the power of saving, the power of communication, the power of family relationships and the power of a co-op. All of which are potent forces in breaking through the barriers of success. By the way, the way it was written, the depicted scenes and the words supposedly uttered by the actors contain fictional embellishments which are intended merely for literary effect.

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