04/29/2013 02:20 pm ET | Updated Jun 29, 2013


Did you ever feel desperate for inspiration? We all need it to replenish our soul, whether it's to revive our sense of purpose or to light a fire under a dormant bridge of creativity. The beauty and the miracle of finding your inspiration is that it appears like a rainbow: suddenly, out of nowhere, without warning and when you least expect it.

On my way back home from the post office yesterday, I ran into an older gentleman that I had recognized from my apartment building. He was resting by a tree, supporting himself with his cane. I said hello, and he immediately looked up at me. When our eyes locked, a giant smile came over his face, almost as if to say "Thank you!" He immediately asked me if he could hold on to me while he finished his walk up the small hill that led to our building (about 300 feet.) Happily, I told him "of course!"

Over the years, we've exchanged hellos at the mailbox in our lobby, but other than his energetic personality, I knew very little about this man who lived in my building -- including his name. He, on the other hand, knew quite a bit more about me, including that I was from Boston. As we began to make the slow climb up the hill, he asked me if I knew of anyone who was effected by the recent Boston Marathon tragedy. With broken, yet understandable English, he went on to tell me how much life in America has changed since his parents brought him over from Spain many, many years ago. To this day he could remember every detail of reaching Ellis Island. Still though, with all its fractures and uncertainties, he insisted that the United States is the greatest nation in the world, and that anyone who has complaints about it should move! A little harsh, but I understood his gratitude.

Continuing a few steps at a time, followed by a brief rest, I had learned that on this particular day, my neighbor had taken the bus to visit his doctor. When he got there it was only then that he found out that the doctor's assistant had neglected to call and cancel his appointment due to an unexpected emergency. He shrugged it off, saying, "mistakes happen, and besides, the exercise is good for me!" I couldn't even begin to think about how I might have reacted had that happened to me. I know one thing, it wouldn't have been pretty; therefore, I asked, "What keeps you in such great spirits?" He was more than happy to inform me that it involved a variety of practices that included Hinduism, proper eating habits and the most important one of all: being grateful.

As we approached our building my neighbor released his grip from me, insisting on opening up and then holding the door for me so that I could pass through first. Like other times before, we checked our mailboxes and then made our way to the elevator to go to our respective floors. On the ride up, I asked my neighbor if he had any exciting plans for the weekend, which he replied with certainty, "Every minute that I'm blessed enough to be here is exciting to me!" At that moment, the elevator door opened and just as he began to step off he smiled and locked eyes with me once again declaring, "I turn 100 on August 5! That's something to be excited about! Thank you for your help with the hill, young man." As he started to walk away, I had to smile myself, because initially I had thought that I was the one doing the good deed of the day.

Like I said, it happens out of nowhere, without warning and when you least expect it. Happy 100th!

For more by Donnie Demers, click here.

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