God definitely has a sense of humor
I was raised in a family of highly educated people. My grandfather was a chief engineer, my grandmother was a library director, my aunt was the head doctor running the biggest hospital in my city. My father was a doctor of mathematical science, and my mother was a senior research fellow at the Institute of Cybernetics. From an early age, I was taught to use logic to make sense of the world around me, to rationalize the things that were happening to me. As I grew older, I realized that sometimes the universe aligns, and things happen at a perfect time for a perfect reason. Many people around me used to call that a coincidence. I’ve learned to call that miracles. I believe such things are an act of God, and He definitely has a sense of humor.
One such miracle always makes me smile when I think about it. It happened a week before Christmas several years ago. I was getting ready for the annual charity event we put together for underprivileged children. It was quite a big endeavor, as we served kids from all the major foster care organizations, children's receiving homes, and shelters for women and children in the Northern California region. Our goal was to make a lasting difference in the lives of those kids, making them feel loved and cared for. The children enjoyed a red carpet experience with greetings from Santa, the Kings mascot, Disney characters, a festive dinner sponsored by Texas Roadhouse, a holiday stage entertainment program, a Christmas movie, and personalized presents.
In order to bring hundreds of foster kids to one location, we partnered up with Baylight Limo & Private Transportation, SIV Transport, and all the major limousine and transportation companies in the city. Children were picked up by luxurious limousines and limo buses which brought them to the event location and took them on a tour of holiday light displays afterward.
My good friend, Frank Gayaldo, was helping me with transportation logistics. The limousines were at full capacity, and we barely managed to arrange a ride for all those enrolled.
Our team had just finished our Christmas Lights event. We served almost a thousand children, many of whom were foster children or victims of abuse. We gave all that we had to each child. The team was happy but totally exhausted, just like my personal and business bank accounts.
We were praying with the team, thanking God for His blessings, when my phone rang. Normally, I don’t answer the phone during office meetings, but the ringer was so loud it was disrupting the meeting, so I answered.
It was a mother of a child with special needs, and she wished there was a program that could serve kids like hers. She said she personally knew of over a hundred kids similar to her own that would love to experience a Christmas Lights event, albeit with a bit different program - with less stimulation and noise. She was asking me if we would be able to create another Christmas experience for those 100 children with disabilities (children with autism disorder and Down syndrome).
I knew absolutely nothing about creating a program for kids with special needs. What I did know for sure was that we did not have any money, my organizing team and volunteers were exhausted, my donors were exhausted, and I was exhausted.
Yet, without any hesitation and against my better judgment, I heard myself tell this mother, "sure." Then I announced to my team, "we would be throwing another Christmas Lights event next week."
It didn't go over well.
My employees looked at me like I was insane: "We have no money, we have zero toys, we don't have a location for this, we have tapped all our donors, one week is not enough time to prepare. We don't even have any wrapping paper left. This is 100% absolutely impossible. We have no more resources, no expertise in helping children with autism." And they were right. I knew myself that we were already spread thin, but I couldn't turn those kids away.
The look on Frank's face said it all when I told him
"sure" "We don't have transportation to create an event for those kids," he said. "We could barely find enough transportation for our first event. What are we gonna do?"
I had no solutions to our problem, so I said the only thing that comes to mind when I'm desperate, "Jesus will provide!" and then I prayed with my team. Frank, not being big on religion, left puzzled to look for limos.
While I was praying, my phone rang again, but I turned it off until the next morning. The next morning, I turned it on and started listening to received messages. Among all the appreciations from served organizations' executives and volunteers, there were two messages that especially grabbed my attention.
The first one was from my friend who was a California Highway Patrol officer at that moment.
"Hi, Sergey. This is Jasper Begay. We have collected 100 Christmas presents, and I was thinking you might want them for your Christmas Lights event. We don't have room in our office, these need to go today."
I called Jasper back right away and told him that I'm on my way to CHP headquarters to pick up toys.
The second message was from Jesus, who called to see if we needed more help with transportation. So, I asked him to call Frank.
Both calls I received just as I was praying for a miracle, and the timing couldn't have been more perfect!
Soon, Frank called me:
"Sergey, you won't believe what just happened! Jesus called! We have two limo buses!"
Even as a strong believer, it took me a minute to process this. Turns out, the owner of Royal Party Bus company from Stockton, Jesus Gomez, heard about our event and decided to contribute. We found out later that he had a child with special needs.
Needless to say, a week later, we, together with Baylight Limo, SIV Transport, Royal Party Bus, and volunteers threw another Christmas Lights event for children with special needs, that we called "Bright Christmas," and we had everything that we needed to get it done.
Sometimes it takes one person willing to do one good thing to make something impossible happen, to make a miracle. So, let's be kind to one another, let's help each other by doing one simple act of kindness at a time. You never know when you can become somebody else's miracle.
On behalf of the organizing team, I would like to once again express our sincere gratitude to all the people who invested their time, money, and resources to make both events happen over the last twenty years 🙏 Because of you, thousands of children have received a real Christmas experience of love, acceptance, and joy during the holiday season 💚♥️