Earlier last night at the gym this lovely older lady asked me if the bike on my left was taken. I reply that the bike on my right was definitely vacant, since the bike on the left had a bottle of water on it. For the past 36 minutes or so. Finally she got on the bike on the left, but with a lot of discomfort I have to admit. Although I did not want to be nosy, I asked if everything was OK. And this sparked a very nice conversation that got me to think about life and a certain person specifically.
Apparently just a couple of weeks ago she fell and she smashed her right arm. Like totally smashed it with her own weight. So she had to go under surgery and since the entire conversation was in french, I understood that it was pretty serious and that the doctors implanted “stuff” in her arm, since there were no real bones left. And this led to both of us commenting about the obvious, but often forgotten: how life can take an unexpected turn out of the blue. All it takes is just to fall in the bathtub or have a whatever accident and then life can become so difficult. All out of the blue. Just like that. The poor lady mentioned Michael Schumacher as such an example. Being so rich, so successful and then suddenly you have a ski accident and hell breaks in your life. To the point that you are not even aware how hell your life is.
Later when I got back home I started reading about Schumacher. In addition to the numerous legendary wins and records, his fortune was more than attention grabbing:
– His house on the banks of Lake Geneva reportedly costs $35 million, has more than 40 rooms, a parking garage for 29 cars, a helicopter landing area, a bowling alley and a football field. There is a 70 meter long trophy room to host the countless number of awards and trophies that he has won over the years.
– He owns an island, which costs $7 million in the cluster of isles known as “The World”. This is a gift from the Sheik Mohammed, Dubai’s prince.
– His Falcon 200, a 9-seater, of the popular Dessault midsize jets, can fly up to a maximum speed of 460 knots and commands a price of $22 million USD.
Another interesting trivia was that:
– Schumacher and his younger brother, Ralf, are the only brothers to win races in Formula One, and they were the first brothers to finish 1st and 2nd in the same race, a feat they repeated in four subsequent races. Wikipedia
But what is really impressive is actually his humanitarian work:
– He is an ambassador for UNESCO and a spokesman for driver safety. The former Ferrari driver is a Special Envoy for Education and Sport and donated €1.5 million to the organization.
– In 2002, Schumacher funded the construction of a school in a poor slum in Dakar, the capital of the West African state of Senegal.
– In 1997, Schumacher opened a clinic for child victims of the Balkans War. The clinic provides artificial limbs for amputees as well as psychological support.
– In 2002, he funded the construction of a ‘Palace for the Poor’ in Lima, Peru which caters for homeless children and provides education, food and medical treatment for street children.
– When his bodyguard and his sons lost their lives in the 2004 Tsunami following the Indian Ocean earthquake, Schumacher donated over $10 million in aid which meant that he gave more money than many individual countries, sports entities and organizations.
– Schumacher is also known to support UNICEF, Childline, and Red Cross.
– In 2009, he donated somewhere between $5 and $10 million, to the William J. Clinton Foundation whose goal is to “strengthen the capacity of people throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence”. The projects funded by the aforementioned organization include initiatives to fight AIDS and climate change.
– In 2013 Schumacher has pledged $670,000 to victims of the flooding which caused havoc in southern Germany in 2010.
I am sure that I have not captured everything, because the guy seemed to really like giving back. Before I get the usual critics blaming any good act towards tax benefits, let me just say I don’t care. Eva says WHATEVA! Give and nobody will care for your motives. Now how do you give back yourself to somebody that has helped so generously to make this a better world? My way and my proposal, specially right now considering what he is going through, is by remembering him in your prayers. Do I pray? A good thought about somebody counts as a prayer in my books. I am a strong believer of good, positive energy affecting the universe. So if it does not cost you much (it does not), just think for a moment of all these people, and specially Michael, who give back more than 10% of what they earn. Your goodwill thought might gift a miracle to him, a gift which is right now greater than a whole island. Get well soon, Michael. We need you in this world for inspiring us with your smile, your achievements and your generous spirit. I know you’ll win this race too…