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He Told Me That Reading Is The Exit Door From Poverty - a short story by A.B.King

   Once upon a time a little boy named Tom who’d lived in the ghetto all his life saved an elderly man from being hit by a crazy drunk driver. Even though Tom was a little boy he was still strong enough to run quickly and pull the shocked elderly man out of the way.   The elderly man didn’t live in the ghetto but he owned a few shops in the ghetto where Tom lived. The elderly man was very grateful to Tom for saving his live and after saying “Thank you, young man” over and over again, he gave Tom a lifetime membership library card.   Tom was like, “Thanks!” he wasn’t really expecting a gift but it was clear from his facial expression that he taught that that was the worst gift that anybody could gave anyone else as a ‘Thank You for saving my life’ gift.   The elderly man knew from his many years on earth and also from Tom’s facial expression exactly what Tom was thinking. He smiled then just as quickly looked at Tom with a very serious face that was almost scary and he said to Tom; “READING IS THE EXIST DOOR FROM POVERTY.” And then, the man walked away.   Tom loved money a lot maybe even on a deeper level than others who weren’t born into poverty like he was. He was also a rather curious fellow so he decided to check out the library at least once.   After reading a few story books, Tom who had never gone to school before but had been taught how to read by his Mum, fell in love with the library.   Tom’s reading started to create more and more friction between him and his Dad because his Dad couldn’t understand why his son would sit at home and just read and read and read all day, and anytime he was not reading in his room he was reading in the library.   Tom registered his name in the library as a holder of a lifetime membership card so that even if he misplaced his card accidentally or his father took it from him, he would still be able to enter the library and collect whatsoever book that he wanted without having to show the librarian the card each time he visited the library.   In time, Tom’s Dad would beat him over and over again and tell him to do some work around the house or go out and play with some friends and not sit down in his room all day reading books.   Tom’s Dad would always tell Tom that if he continues that way he is never going to become a man.   Even Tom’s Mum told him that he is growing soft and filling his head with fantasy and garbage theories.   Tom was persecuted and and beat up repeatedly. Even though he was the only Christian in the family and the only one who went to church years before his encounter with the elderly old man, he had never been persecuted by his parents for his Christian faith. They were Ok with him going to church but it was this reading always that bothered them and drove them crazy.However, in-spite of all the persecution, Tom’s life still revolved around reading in his room, reading in the library and going to church.   At a point one day, when his dad was beating him and telling him never to go to the library again, Tom’s dad got tired and as he looked into his son’s eyes he knew that his son would still go to the library again and again and again. No amount of beating would quench this unusual love for reading in his son that he did not understand.   Tom’s Dad knew that it all started after his son saved that elderly man because Tom had told his Mum about the encounter before.   Tom’s Dad then asked his son, “What is it that that old man told you that makes you love reading so much?”   Tom looked his father in the eye and said; “HE TOLD ME THAT READING IS THE EXIST DOOR FROM POVERTY, AND I KNOW IT IN MY HEART TO BE TRUE. BESIDES, I AM IN LOVE WITH WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE FOR KNOWLEDGE’S SAKE. EVEN IF ALL THE SECRETS OF MONEY WASN’T CONTAINED IN WISDOM I WOULD STILL LOVE WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE. GROWING IN WISDOM IS ALL I THINK ABOUT WHEN I WAKE UP EVERY MORNING.”Tom’s Dad had never heard anyone speak like that before. He immediately let go of his son’s shirt. He knew from that moment that he would never understand his son. But he could see something in his son shone from within him that made him begin to respect him. From that day on he never beat his son again.   Tom’s Dad established a schedule with Tom that created little time for Tom to do some work around the house and all the time in the world for Tom to read.   Tom read even more and he started reading above what kids his age who where in school where taught.   A few years later, Tom convinced a couple in church to help him pay for a form for a scholarship exam into high school.   Tom took the exam and passed it. When he got into High School he was at the top of his class. By the time he was in Senior High he used his mother’s name to invest in the stock market and he was basically the bread winner of the family raking in lots more money than his father could ever hustle from the streets.   During one Christmas while everyone gathered together like it was a family reunion in the new home that Tom had bought in his Mum’s name, everyone talked about what God had done in Tom’s life and by the end of that Christmas day everyone had given their lives to Christ and received the Holy Ghost too after they’d finished listening to Tom tell them how it was Jesus that had done the miracle in his life.   Tom went on to University after graduating from High School at the top of his class.At University, Tom almost got distracted because of all the distractions there but thankfully he had read a book about a boy who got distracted in college and ended up losing all that he had worked for all his life, so Tom was cautious. He was also blessed to have read a book about how not to get distracted in college so he surrounded himself with only a select group of serious students. He restricted his associations and activities on campus so he was either in a lecture hall, his room, the chapel or at the school library.   Tom’s plan worked, and he maintained his focus. He ended up passing college and medical school with honors.   Two days before his 42nd birthday, he stood in front of the most prestigious members of the medical community. Even the most distinguished people and presidents from various nations of the world were present.   Tom was to receive an award for the most important medical discovery ever. He was to receive an award for discovering the cure for AIDS.   When he was asked how a young African America man from the ghetto can rise out of poverty and rise so high that he makes the most important medical discovery known to man Tom smiles and says, “IT’S ALL BECAUSE OF AN ELDERLY MAN I MET A LONG TIME AGO. HE TOLD ME THAT READING IS THE EXIST DOOR FROM POVERTY.”
The End.

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