A Message from our Founder
Life is strange; you never know where you are going or how you are going to get there, then one day you look back and you’ve been walking the entire time. You find yourself somewhere completely different than where you thought you were going or where you thought you would be.
Once upon a time, I wasn’t a very nice person. I was unhappy, prideful, selfish and mostly an uncaring man who made a lot of people, (mostly the ones who love and care for me) very unhappy. I never took time for my family or cared what they were doing or what they thought. I didn’t even take the time to answer their calls because I was a big man with an agenda and it was all about me.
About 17 years ago, while still in a wretched misery that I called ‘life’, I met a waitress. She was just a nobody with an apron and a huge chip on her shoulder. That particular day, she had the good fortune of being the one who would be waiting on me in the diner where she worked.
I was in a bad mood, but it was evident that her mood was even worse than mine. I can tell you right now, there were no niceties exchanged between the two of us as she seated me at the far end of the diner (per my request). When she addressed me, my only responses to her were irritability and complaining; she retorted with snapping and grumbling. We were quite the pair.
It was like two gladiators going to battle, and after about 30 seconds of conversation with this waitress I realized there was actually only gladiator and a mouse; I happen to be the mouse.
After another 30 minutes of trying to have a conversation with a lady that had more PHD’s in jerkology than I did, I ask her if I can buy her a piece of pie and a cup of coffee. She told me what I could do with the pie and coffee and it was not eat or drink it. I’m a very persistent person and would not give up. Finally after about an hour I convinced her to sit down. She looked me in the eye and asked me “crybaby, what seems to be your problem?” I told her I had just found my father who had committed suicide and I felt like she should of been a little more compassionate.
The truth is, I envision reaching over the table and choking her to death and refrained; I do not look good in orange. I asked her, “well tell me what your problem is, why are you such a jerk?”
She told me that she and her husband moved to this small town two weeks prior to her dying of pancreatic cancer. He never told her he was sick and dying. She found herself in a town she knew no one, and considered the town to be a friendly as a porcupine. Her two children and grandchildren came home for the funeral; this was all the family she had in the world. They stayed for about a week and then headed home. Half way into their trip a drunk driver came flying through the median, hit them head on and killed all four people in the car. In a matter of a month she had lost her entire immediate family.
At that point in time I said to myself “check mate, she wins.”
I got in to the café around noon and did not leave until around 10 pm. During our conversation I realized that things could be much worse for me than what they were. I had such mixed emotions in my heart, but knew that I needed to leave a note to let her know the profound impact she had on a young mans heart.
My bill was $17.49 but, I left $100, a business card and a note that said “thank you very much for your kind words, it changed a young mans heart from sadness and despair, to a heart filled with gratitude for the time I had with my father.”
I left and headed back to work. About two weeks later I got a small box in the mail. I have to tell you I’m an avid watch collector so I thought it was something I had ordered; until I shook the box. It sounded like a battery. I opened the box and immediately and have to admit I was still a jerk and did not continue to read the note she had sent me, I wanted to see the gift in the bottom of the box. Much to my surprise I reached in and pulled out a .45 bullet and immediately thought “you nut, I don’t hunt with a .45.” In my over 10 hour conversation with her I told her I was an avid hunter. As Paul Harvey says “Here’s the rest of the story.” I went back to the note and began to read where I left off.
She said “”little do you understand the spark that you gave an old woman’s heart today, it changed my heart from grief and despair to knowing I had a mission left to do until I draw my last breath.” Her mission was to spark (or spread kindness) to every person that crossed my path.” She went on to say, “I searched long and hard of a gift that would be worthy of a spark you gave my heart, and the only thing I could come up with was the bullet I was going to use to commit suicide, that night.”
I have to admit I was not a very emotional person at this point in time, but I found water leaking from my eyes that I later discovered were tears.
I never had another conversation with this waitress, but I promise you the footprint that she left on my heart will be there until the day I die. I would love to tell you I started sparking immediately, but I did not. It took over a year for this to sink in and for me to fully understand the mission that God had given me. I will never stop sparking and trying to make the world a better place for the next generation until I draw my last breath.
Since 1999, my passion for helping others has grown into a mission and through this mission others have begun to catch the fire too. It is from this fire that the 1 Spark Foundation has grown. 1 Spark, is simply defined as “doing something for someone other than yourself.” A kind word, opening a door for someone, paying for a breakfast (my favorite!) or lunch, holding a door open or letting a car in your lane during traffic. It doesn’t have to cost a dime.
If everyone would commit to doing 1 Spark a day, imagine how we could change the world!
My prayer is that you, too, will be moved to join the army of Spark Givers. I guarantee you this one thing for sure, if you start giving of yourself, you will be blessed more than you can ever imagine.
And remember, the best life will be lived serving others.
One spark can start a fire… the only unknown in this equation is will it be your spark that ignites an inferno that no person will ever by able to extinguish?
– David L. Hill