God definitely has a sense of humor

I was raised in a family of highly educated individuals. My grandfather was a chief engineer, my grandmother was a library director, my aunt was the head doctor running the biggest hospital in my city, my father was a doctor of mathematical science, and my mother was a senior research fellow at the Institute of Cybernetics. From an early age, I was taught to use logic to make sense of the world around me and to rationalize the events that occurred in my life. As I grew older, I realized that sometimes the universe aligns, and things happen at a perfect time for a perfect reason. Many people around me used to call these events coincidences. I’ve learned to call them miracles. I believe such occurrences are acts of God, and He undoubtedly has a sense of humor.

Distributing Christmas presents with Kevin Barri, Regional Bank President at Wells Fargo, and his wife, Rachelle, who volunteered at the annual Christmas Lights for Underprivileged Children event.

One such miracle that always brings a smile to my face occurred a week before Christmas several years ago. I was preparing for the annual charity event we organized for underprivileged children. It was quite a significant undertaking, as we served kids from all the major foster care organizations, children’s receiving homes, and shelters for women and children in the Northern California region. Our objective was to make a lasting difference in these children’s lives, ensuring they felt loved and cared for. The event offered a red carpet experience featuring greetings from Santa, the Kings mascot, Disney characters, a festive dinner sponsored by Texas Roadhouse, a holiday stage entertainment program, a Christmas movie, and personalized presents for all to enjoy.

In order to bring hundreds of foster kids to one location, we partnered up with Baylight Limo & Private Transportation, SIV Transport, and all the major limousine and transportation companies in the city. Children were picked up by luxurious limousines and limo buses which brought them to the event location and took them on a tour of holiday light displays afterward.

My good friend, Frank Gayaldo, was helping me with transportation logistics. The limousines were at full capacity, and we barely managed to arrange a ride for all those enrolled.

Our team had just concluded our Christmas Lights event, during which we served more than 600 children, many of whom were foster children or victims of abuse. We gave everything we had to each child, leaving our team feeling happy but utterly exhausted—a sentiment mirrored by my personal and business bank accounts.

As we were praying with the team, expressing our gratitude to God for His blessings, my phone rang. I usually don’t answer calls during meetings, but the ringer was so disruptive that I decided to pick up.

On the other end was a mother of a child with special needs, who wished there was a program that could cater to children like hers. She personally knew over a hundred kids who would love to experience a Christmas Lights event tailored to their needs, with less stimulation and noise. She asked if we could create another Christmas experience for those 100 children with disabilities, specifically those with autism spectrum disorder and Down syndrome.

I had no experience creating a program for children with special needs. However, I was certain that we had no money left, my organizing team and volunteers were drained, my donors were exhausted, and I, too, was running on empty.

Despite these challenges, and against my better judgment, I found myself instinctively telling this mother, “Sure.” Then, I announced to my team that we would be hosting another charity event the following week.

It didn’t go over well.

My team looked at me like I was insane: “We have no money, we have zero toys, we don’t have a location for this, we have tapped all our donors, one week is not enough time to prepare. We don’t even have any wrapping paper left. This is 100% absolutely impossible. We have no more resources, no expertise in helping children with autism.” And they were right. I knew myself that we were already spread thin, but I couldn’t turn those kids away.

The expression on Frank’s face revealed his thoughts the moment I said, “Sure.”

“Sure? But we don’t have transportation to create an event for those kids,” Frank said, concern evident in his voice. “We could barely find enough transportation for our first event. What are we going to do?”

I had no solutions to our problem, so I said the only thing that comes to mind when I’m desperate, “Jesus will provide!” and then I prayed with my team. Frank, not being big on religion, left puzzled to look for limos.

While I was praying, my phone rang again, but I turned it off until the next morning. The next morning, I turned it on and started listening to received messages. Among all the appreciations from served organizations’ executives and volunteers, there were two messages that especially grabbed my attention.

The first one was from my friend who was a California Highway Patrol officer at that moment.

“Hi, Sergey. This is Jasper Begay. We have collected 100 Christmas presents, and I was thinking you might want them for your Christmas Lights event. We don’t have room in our office, these need to go today.”

I called Jasper back right away and told him that I’m on my way to CHP headquarters to pick up toys.

The second message was from a person I didn’t know, named Jesus, who owned a limo bus company. He had learned about our charity event and called to see if we needed more help with transportation. I asked him to call Frank, since Frank was in charge of transportation logistics.

Both calls came through just as I was praying for a miracle, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect!

Soon, Frank called me:

“Sergey, you won’t believe what just happened! Jesus called! We have two limo buses!”

Even as a strong believer, it took me a minute to process this. Turns out, the owner of Royal Party Bus company from Stockton, Jesus Gomez, heard about our event and decided to contribute. We found out later that he had a child with special needs.

Needless to say, a week later, we, together with Baylight Limo, SIV Transport, Royal Party Bus, and volunteers threw another Christmas Lights event for children with special needs, that we called “Bright Christmas,” and we had everything that we needed to get it done.

Sometimes it takes one person willing to do one good thing to make something impossible happen, to make a miracle. So, let’s be kind to one another, let’s help each other by doing one simple act of kindness at a time. You never know when you can become somebody else’s miracle.

On behalf of the organizing team, I would like to once again express our sincere gratitude to all the people who invested their time, money, and resources to make both events happen over the last twenty years 🙏 Because of you, thousands of children have received a real Christmas experience of love, acceptance, and joy during the holiday season 💚♥️

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