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Blades chopped through the air like machetes cutting through chaff. A chill hung in the air this December 18th. Light snow fell. The helicopter made its descent and touched down with grace and gentleness on the South Bridge High School baseball field in Wilmington, Delaware. The smooth landing allowed for the pilot, retired Marine, Lieutenant Colonel Rivi “Right on Time” Mera, to give the thumbs up to his passenger, Zevon Perell.
This time, the billionaire financier had arranged for a spectacular ride in his private helicopter. Ahead of time, he had informed the parents of the trio of children who celebrated Christmas with him last year. The three selfish children that had enjoyed a “sleigh ride” with him in his high performance sports car were now a year older and a grade higher than the last time that he had encountered them. Cyntoia Victor, Tyquisha Fellows, and Carver Knoll all beamed with pride. They watched as Perell disembarked from the helicopter.
“Is that for us?” Tyquisha asked.
“Who wants a ride in this today?” he said with a broad smile, pointing at the aircraft.
“We do!” the three children chimed.
Perell had already acquired the digital signatures of the parents to have them survey the city of Wilmington and beyond about 15,000 feet in the air. The children had not known about the helicopter surprise and none of the occasion was spoiled. Each of them donned a helmet and microphone once they entered the aircraft.
“This is Mr. Rivi Mera, children.”
“Call me Rivi, you gals and guy.”
The helicopter came equipped with luxurious seating arrangements and plenty of space for the four passengers. The helicopter lifted from the ground like a feather in the wind. It was smooth and quick.
“How do you turn this thing on?” Carver said about the microphone just noticing that he had already figured out that the mic was hot.
“I guess you just found out, didn’t you, my friend?” Perell said.
The five of them just peered down at their respective homes and where they used to go to school a few grades back. This year stood out as the three of them enjoyed the fact that their parents had achieved greater things since they last met Perell. Tyquisha’s father was now teaching yoga classes and playing basketball with two robust arms. Carver’s mother had turned her first profit and made Perell richer in the process. Cyntoia’s friend saw a better day as her operation to remove a tumor proved to be successful. For their dedication to their parents and friend, the three of them now experienced a ride that would change their lives.
“As part of the holiday bonus and I know that you’re scholastics come first, I’m offering to pay each of your tuition and room and board when you make it to college.”
Tyquisha, Carver, and Cyntoia gave each other high fives. They would’ve hugged each other but the restraints prevented them from this form of celebration.
Cyntoia said, “We can’t thank you enough, Mr. Perell.”
“There’s room in my mind to thank you, sir. I’ve not been blessed. I’ve been fortunate for your kind offering,” Carver said.
“What can we do to make up for this?” Tyquisha asked.
“You’ve already done it. I have spoken with your parents about your grades and you all are doing exceptionally. All you have to do is continue to work smart and ensure that you earn that diploma. Tyquisha, you’ll be graduating before you turn eighteen this year, correct?”
“That’s right, Mr. Perell.”
“Well, this investment in your future ought to come within a few months. I expect you to maintain your grade point average and graduate with honors, young lady.”
Tyquisha said, “You’ve got it.”
The helicopter seemed to rove over the minuscule metropolis. With the good news just imparted, the teenagers laughed and sang songs of joy and uplift. Carver broke from his singing and asked a question.
“Where are we headed, Mr. Perell?”
“I'm glad that you asked that, Carver. While we will not be stopping at the Wilmington Children’s Hospital this year, we will be visiting three schools to give you a glimpse at what your possible college may look like. Don’t worry about those children, though. With the endowment that I bequeathed to the hospital, there will be increased machines for monitoring diabetes, more cancer screening, and increased doctor to patient care. Fret not, my little ones.”
“Well, that’s good,” Cyntoia said.
“Because of all of your self-interested actions, I am rewarding all of you and in turn, I expect those grades to be tip-top. Your performance is your key to knowledge.”
In the span of about two hours, the helicopter hovered over the campuses of the Delaware Academy for Film and Television Arts (DAFTA), the New Sweden University (NSU) and even ventured to Newark, Delaware to the Delaware Institute of Technology (DIT).
“Now, I’m aware that you may want to seek a school outside of our proud and tiny state, but I’m just offering you snapshots of the places that you might go to in the quest for expanding your minds.”
The three nodded in solemn agreement. They each understood that no matter where they went, they would excel and further their studies.
As the helicopter returned toward Wilmington, the five occupants of the vessel all possessed a sense of what this season of Christmas is all about. It is the trade. It is the ability to exchange benefit for mutual benefit. Perell’s selfishness taught him how to continue to bestow upon these children the ideals of how the ego is the chief component in a well-developed soul. For his three teens, he wanted to impart that the greatest gift of all isn’t given. It’s earned. And that you must earn your reward of selfishness through devotion.
As the helicopter descended onto the school parking lot, Rivi waved a hand as the four passengers departed. Once everyone was clear, the bird was back in the sky and zoomed off into the distance.
“That, my friends, shows you just how important selfishness is.”
“Indeed,” all of the three children chimed.