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.
Irwin Kula is the co-founder and co-executive editor of The Wisdom Daily. A rabbi, Irwin’s writing has been featured in The Huffington Post and the Washington Post. He is the author of Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life and a co-editor of The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices. Irwin has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The O’Reilly Factor and PBS Frontline. Irwin also serves as President Emeritus of Clal, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a leadership training institute, think tank and resource center in New York City.