I am sitting in the doctor’s office for my annual checkup – a routine triggered by my participation in Movember . It brought back a flood of memories of an incredible trip Tina and I won to Moskito Island near Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands in November of 1991.
During our stay, we found ourselves at an exclusive resort called Drakes Anchorage. We were ordinary workers earning just above minimum wage at the time, surrounded by guests who were primarily millionaires and multi-millionaires. Initially, we felt out of place among such an affluent company.
However, something unexpected happened. When word got out that we had won the trip, the atmosphere shifted. Instead of feeling like outsiders, the guests showed us incredible kindness and warmth. It was heartwarming to experience such genuine generosity among people from diverse financial backgrounds.
Curiosity led me to Google the island’s current status. I discovered that Sir Richard Branson had purchased it in 20023 for 10,000,000 pounds. I feel grateful for experiencing Moskito Island in its natural, uncommercialized beauty.
Tina and I feel incredibly fortunate to have witnessed the island’s raw, unspoiled beauty before its commercialization. The memories we hold dear are not about luxury, which was very luxurious in 1991, but about the genuine connections made and the kindness shared among individuals, regardless of their financial status.
I’ve got a story to tell from our time there. Once, the regular bartender would clock out at 10 pm, leaving the bar completely stocked and open for the night. There was this wealthy guy, a skyscraper salesman in Houston. Let’s call him Mike. Surprisingly, Mike took over as our bartender and enjoyed it! Our group would hang out at the bar, and we’d let Mike play bartender, mixing drinks and serving us.
One of the guests, let’s call him Steve, feared putting his face in the water due to a near-drowning experience in his youth. Once our group learned of this, our entire group of guests, including Tina and me, came together and gathered all the air mattresses. We tied them together, creating a massive raft. Together, we floated on the raft with Steve to ensure his safety. Finally with the support of his new friends felt safe enough to put his face in the water. I was a magical moment.
Later, during dinner, Steve delivered a heartfelt speech to express his gratitude. It was a beautiful moment filled with sincerity and appreciation.
Sitting in that doctor’s office, I realized that life often brings unexpected treasures. They may not come in extravagant packaging but can teach us profound lessons about compassion, humanity, and appreciating life’s simple blessings. Movember’s simple reminder triggered reflections that reaffirmed the value of life’s unexpected gifts.
Our trip to Moskito Island is a reminder that amidst differences, acts of kindness and gratitude have the power to enrich our lives in ways that go beyond material possessions.