One day while fishing at his favorite spot by the sea, a rich man who thinks money is everything regrets tearfully when a heartbreaking sight reminds him of the family he lost on his way to success.
Can money buy everything? Well, it does buy a bunch of things, but not everything we need in life. Let’s be honest: You can buy a house with money. But can you buy a home and a loving family? Money can buy a clock, but can you buy time? It can give you pride, but can you buy happiness, respect, and peace?
For 41-year-old fisherman Franklin, happiness was not about money. He was blessed with a beautiful wife, two adorable kids, and a little poorly furnished yet cozy home filled with warmth and love. “What more could I ask for? I’m the happiest man on earth!” thought Franklin, knowing little that he would soon destroy that joy with his own hands…
One day, Franklin was sitting on the dock by the sea, filling his basket with a fresh catch of fish. “Lucky me! That’s going to be a lot of money!” he sighed, joy sprawling across his sun-tanned face.
His kids, Demi and Ricky, were running around, hurling pebbles at the ocean, when his wife Christie appeared with sandwiches and tea. Franklin usually snacked with his family before leaving for the market to sell the fish.
Your family is your real wealth. Money is not permanent, but they are.
Christie took the kids home after the meal as Franklin loaded his basket onto his cycle. As he took off to the market, a rich man stopped Franklin on the way and stepped down from his expensive car. Little did Franklin know how his life would change after that meeting.
“Hey, I was going to the fish market. Can I take a look at the fish? Are they fresh?” the guy asked Franklin.
“Yes, sir! These are fresh, straight out of the sea!”
The man peeped into the basket loaded with fresh pomfrets, sardines, and tunas. “That’s amazing! Did you fish alone or with your mates?”
“Nah, I always fish alone… sometimes, my fellow fishermen join me, but today, I was alone.”
“Wow, it’s a huge catch! Why don’t you take it more seriously, pal?” the rich man said as Franklin was puzzled.
“Yeah! You are so talented, so why don’t you expand your business? You could easily make a lot of money. You can even start your fishing company and, one day, buy a huge mansion by the sea!”
The stranger bought some fish and left, leaving Franklin dreaming big.
“A fishing company and mansion by the ocean?? Wow, that sounds so cool. Why didn’t I think of this before?”
Franklin sold off the remaining fish in the market and cycled home as fast as he could. He was so excited and couldn’t stop imagining what he would do once he was rich.
“Once I become a rich businessman, I will buy an expensive car and a big house. I will have servants to do all my work and no longer struggle. I can buy everything in the world!”
Franklin told Christie about his meeting with the rich man on his way to the market. She was surprised to see him so happy and excited and thought he was joking about becoming rich.
“Just joking??! No, honey, I’m serious. I want to start a business.”
Christie frowned and had no idea where this would head. “But dear, aren’t you happy with what we have?”
Scraping off the fish scales stuck to his hand under the running faucet, Franklin opened up to Christie. “I keep asking my friends for odd jobs, and you know what they call me behind my back? A beggar!”
“Today, I realized what my purpose in life is. It’s MONEY! I will do all it takes to have everything they said I cannot have.”
Saying this, Franklin became determined to climb the ladder to success. He freshened up, wore his best clothes, and left to meet his friends at the bar where they often hung out.
“Trust me, guys. We can do this together. We can be partners and grow big in such a short time. What do you think?” Franklin proposed his idea to his friends.
Enthusiastic about the plan, they agreed and started working hard day and night.
Two years flew by, and Franklin and his team managed to set up a small fishing company with Franklin heading it. More money started coming in, and their business began to snowball. Franklin even started hiring new fishermen and made decisions without consulting his friends, which didn’t go well with them. Soon, misunderstandings sparked between them.
“We are partners in this business, and you should consult us as well,” one of his friends demanded.
“Really? I was the one to set up this business. You are all workers under me and not partners. I needn’t discuss my decisions with my employees,” Franklin argued, thus burning the bridges with his friends.
“You have changed a lot, Franklin. You are not that buddy we loved hanging out or laughing with. Money has made you into a different person we don’t know. Good luck with your business. Goodbye!”
Franklin’s friends quit the company and returned to their normal lives.
“So what if they leave me? I have many workers now. Nothing can stop or distract me,” he thought and devoted more time to his business.
As time ticked, Franklin was absorbed by his mission of becoming rich. He had little to no time for his family, and even if he did spend time with them, he only discussed ways to make money and nothing else. He forgot about his wedding anniversaries and kids’ birthdays and was never really involved in their lives.
Little by little, Franklin’s family crumbled right before his eyes, and he could not guess what was coming next.
“I bring home money. We moved into a lovely apartment from our poor hut, and there’s no food shortage. I don’t smell fishy anymore and have employees under me. What more could you ask for?” he argued when Christie told him money had changed him.
“Darling, it’s not just about money. We want you back. We were happy and content with the little we had. Money has blinded you. You have stopped paying attention to your family and don’t love us anymore.”
“Money will give us everything we need. Just relax and let me do my thing. Don’t advise me, alright??” Franklin fumed at Christie. Soon, his dedication to becoming rich cost him his marriage. Unable to endure Franklin’s ignorance toward their family, Christie divorced him and took their kids away.
Franklin didn’t even notice he had destroyed his beautiful family in his race to build an empire of riches. “They will regret leaving me one day. Now, I can fully focus on my work!” he sighed and never changed his thirst for success, guessing little he’d be the one to regret big time very soon.
Fifteen years passed, and one day…
Franklin assembled his employees and announced his retirement. It surprised everyone because they thought their boss would start a few more units, and his sudden retreat from his snowballing business shocked everyone.
“I have worked hard enough, and I have an abundance of everything now. I can buy anything my eyes see and my heart desires, so I am selling my company,” he revealed.
Franklin sold his company and bought a large estate on the seashore, just as the wealthy stranger he met several years ago had told him.
“My dream house… finally!!!” Franklin exclaimed with tears of joy flooding his eyes as he took his fishing rod. “It’s been many years since I fished. I no longer have to fish for a living. It’s just a sport to kill my boredom!”
As Franklin cast the fishing pole, he was haunted by an eerie silence. He looked around and noticed his kids, Demi and Ricky, were not shouting or running around him. He sighed and continued to fish when suddenly, his tummy tickled with hunger. Franklin stopped and turned around, staring at an empty dock. His wife Christie was not there with a basket of sandwiches and teapot in her hand.
Franklin could not pull himself together when he realized he was stranded alone with no family to love or laugh with. He decided to go to the bar but sat back because he had no friends waiting for him there. In his race to become rich, Franklin had lost his most treasured relationships.
“I’M POORER THAN WHEN I WAS A BEGGAR!” Franklin sobbed as a fish bit the bait. He reeled it back and released the fish back into the water.
Franklin could not forgive himself for giving up on his loving family and friends on his way to success. He had his dream mansion by the sea, and it was all he had. Money bought him a house but not a home. It made him rich, but he could not buy true love and a family with it, and only time would tell if Franklin made up for his mistake.