On a recent ordinary morning, I was standing inside a Starbucks ordering some coffee when a raggedy, scruffy, grungy-looking guy who was probably in his late 30s stepped up to the adjoining counter. You could feel everyone in his immediate presence tense up.
He looked directly at the barista. Then, in a loud and clear voice he declared, “You are the proud winner of the grand prize of a brand new……………DAY.”
Everyone broke out laughing. Standing side-by-side with him, I said, “A brand new day is the grand prize, that’s great. No brand new day, no other prizes matter!”
He looked at me, smiled broadly and said, “Thanks, man, that’s too much wisdom. I just like to get people’s attention. If you tell them they won an award, they listen to you.” And he put out his fist and we fist-bumped.
“What’s your name?” I asked. “Jacob,” he said. I didn’t tell him I was a rabbi or that I wrote for The Wisdom Daily, but still laughing, I offered to buy his coffee – to which he immediately responded, “Yeah, generosity. That’s the only real wisdom.”
Then Jacob pointed to the person behind him and said to me, “Pay for her coffee,” and just like that, he took his coffee and walked out. I took my coffee, paid for the order of the speechless woman in line, and went outside semi-following him. But he was gone.
“You are the proud winner of the grand prize of a brand new DAY!” – This is my new gratitude prayer. I haven’t yet missed one morning saying it. Thanks, Jacob, for the Sacred Encounter.
Rabbi Irwin Kula is a 7th generation rabbi and a disruptive spiritual innovator. A rogue thinker, author of the award-winning book, Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life, and President-Emeritus of Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, he works at the intersection of religion, innovation, and human flourishing. A popular commentator in both new and traditional media, he is co-founder with Craig Hatkoff and the late Professor Clay Christensen of The Disruptor Foundation whose mission is to advance disruptive innovation theory and its application in societal critical domains. He serves as a consultant to a wide range of foundations, organizations, think tanks, and businesses and is on the leadership team of Coburn Ventures, where he offers uncommon inputs on cultural and societal change to institutional investors across sectors and companies worldwide.