I have shared a couple stories about our family friends the Saporitos. Mrs. Sap recently passed away and while it is sad for those who knew her it is also a joyous moment for her. Not only does she get to be reunited with Mr. Sap but also with their son Joey.

Joey passed away years ago when I was a teen. Joey was a baseball phenomenon who pitched multiple no hitters in high school and was so good he got signed by the Cincinnati Reds. He was my idol. The summer he graduated, he was working on a construction site and fell through the floor and was paralyzed from the waist down.

After years of being in a wheelchair and on disability, Joey went blind. They ended up finding a tumor in his brain. He fought it with optimism only like a Sap could do. He was an incredible inspiration.

My family growing up had to file bankruptcy due to the loss of some family restaurants my parents owned when the city of Cleveland defaulted in the 70’s. Those old enough to remember Cleveland as “The Mistake on the Lake.”

I vividly recall Joey Saps funeral when Mrs. Sap called my three sisters and I over and said, “Do you remember when you would find groceries outside your door when your family was in financial hardship? Those groceries were bought for you by Joey with his disability money. He did not want me to tell you until he passed away.”


Wow! How many lessons are embedded in this story?

  • No matter how bad things are going in your life, you still always have the possibility of helping others.
  • Everyone has something to give that will help other people in need.
  • The best way to lift yourself up when you are down is to help someone else.

Man, I can keep going and going with this but here is the deal. Unfortunate circumstances will happen in life. Whether you choose to use them as a building block for spiritual, mental, and physical growth, or as roadblocks to self-pity is a decision YOU get to make and then need to live with.

So when I say a blind, paraplegic with a brain tumor in his 20’s was feeding a family of six on Thanksgiving, I honestly can’t say he was disabled in the slightest. Some people are masters, and he was one of them. Those are the people we need to emulate.

Therefore, this Thanksgiving I give gratitude to the masters that have entered my life. I give thanks for all the lessons learned from Mrs. Sap and those like her. Who do you want to emulate? Give thanks this week and take note of all the wonder around you.

Read past blog posts here.