The Old Man and the Soda

There once was an old, cranky man. He did not enjoy his job where he would sit at the base of Mauna Loa and sell soda. He had learned all the languages of the world, as he met customers that would climb up to the top and look at the volcano. His whole life he spent sitting at the soda stand. He had been sitting there since he was old enough to talk. He never attended school, never had friends, and never had a passport. He never left this area of 10 by 10 feet.

He had a small house at the back of the stand where his entire family lived including his aunts, cousins, and great-grandchildren. They always had water to drink and mush to eat. Never did they eat or drink anything else, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They were very poor.  

One day, his family grew rich and moved out into a penthouse in New York. The poor man asked to live with his family and get a share of the money.

The family replied, “Never in a million years. Not if you were the last person alive.”

He was still the old poor man at the soda stand.

One day he felt so sorry for himself, he opened a soda and it made the hissing sound soda always made. The old man never heard this sound, which is why he jumped with fright from the soda. The sound eventually stopped like it always did.

He took a sip of Sprite and it sizzled in his mouth. This was the best minute in the old man’s life. He finally felt happy. With this happiness, he climbed up to the top of the volcano. He was amazed in that moment. He decided to travel the world. To travel the world, he would need a passport. Having no money, he could not buy a passport. He swam over to New York to ask his family to lend him 100 dollars to buy a passport. Of course his family was a little crazy during the move, so he felt he had a good chance.

The family said, “No way!” and told him they did not want anything to do with him.

Sadly the old man walked home kicking a stone along the path. Going through his head was, why would his family be so rude to him? He had supported them till they got all rich, making them food and all.

Once he arrived home, he sat down and counted his money. He had only twenty dollars saved up. He decided to tell the tourists his story and hopefully they would donate extra money. He tried this plan the next day.

The next day he told a French tourist, “Bonjour voulez-vous un soda? Et voulez-vous faire don de l’argent supplémentaire pour moi afin que je puisse voyager dans le monde et obtenir un passeport s’il vous plaît. Je suis allé dans ce domaine toute ma vie entière,” which translates to, “Hello would you like a soda? Would you care to donate extra money to me so I can travel the world and get a passport, please? I have been in this area my whole entire life.”

The tourist replied, “Sûr pourquoi pas et j’espère que vous obtenez de parcourir le monde,” which means, “Sure, why not? I hope you get to travel the world.”

The old man was happy once again. He jumped up as high as his old man legs would let him, which was only like 3 inches high, but it was still a jump of joy. He gave a high pitched squeal like one of a little girl — the first one of his entire life.

The old man continued to ask the tourists, but not all people gave him money, especially not the New Yorkers. They said he was just a regular hobo selling soda. He was just cleaner and had a lot more clothing.

Over a long time, he gained up enough money for a passport and a boat. He traveled all over the world all from North America, South America,  Africa, Europe, Australia, Asia, across the Great Wall of China, and finally, Antarctica. He felt his life was complete. His heart was settled. He thought he would want to do more, but he felt happy. He forgot completely about his awful family. He missed his stand and wanted to go back to his customers, so he went back to his little old soda stand and continued selling soda at the volcano, feeling happy and telling all the customers his story and recommendations of where to go.

He is still at the base of Mauna Loa Volcano. If you go to Hawaii, you can still see him sitting there at the volcano, and he will tell you the story of his life.

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