Letters

Honor thy father and mother

Dear Editor,

The fifth commandment is often referred to as the first commandment with a promise: “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” (Ex. 20:12)

Before they became some of the richest people in the world, many celebrities and entrepreneurs endured hardship and struggles.

Leonardo Dicaprio, one of the biggest names in Hollywood, grew up in a drug-torn part of Los Angeles, while Oscar winner Halle Berry slept in a homeless shelter during her early acting career.

Oprah Winfrey was born into a poor Mississippi family in 1954, but she’s now worth an estimated $2.6 billion.

Roland “Pop” Symonette was one of nine children of Methodist minister Edwin Lofthouse Symonette and his wife Lavania Alethia (née Weech) on the small island settlement of Current, Eleuthera.

Although he had only six years of formal education, Symonette became one of the wealthiest men of his generation. Symonette’s family’s holdings have never been publicly confirmed, but public speculation has placed it between $700 million and $2.5 billion.

Education, wise investments, and access to opportunities unavailable to most people make it easy for rich kids to continue making a lot of money. However, there are a few wealthy individuals who truly did work hard to rise above their humble beginnings and become extremely rich.

Adrian Fox is one of these people.

As a child, he grew up in Balls Alley, off Shirley Street, living in a small wooden house with 28 other family members, his grandparents, mother, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Sometimes, if he were lucky, he would sleep in a bed with several other family members. Other times, he would make himself comfortable on the couch or the floor.

His grandparents, who were old school, made sure none of their children went hungry and always had food on the table no matter how simple.

His mother is a single parent who worked as a waitress at one of the hotels on Paradise Island. She did her best to provide not only for her children, but those of her siblings as well.

While he was thankful for what he had, even as a little boy, Adrian knew it was insufficient. There had to be more. So, he ran errands and did odd jobs for his neighbors to help his mom out.

Finally, when he was about 10, he got a job working after school and on weekends as a packing boy at City Market food store on Village Road, enabling him to help his mom more.

At the age of 15, he left school and was hired as a busboy at Café Martinique, the five-star restaurant on Paradise Island where he learned the importance of treating others with kindness and respect, something that helped motivate him to where he is today.

From his first day at work, he knew what he wanted. He would often say to me, “Chief, I can’t wait until I become a waiter because busboys don’t make enough money for me to help my old lady with the bills.”

Yes, I was his manager, so everything said here today is done with authority.

Because of his devotion to his job, in no time, he became one of the youngest and best waiters in the history of Café Martinique. He was also one of the most requested waiters in the restaurant. You can say he mastered his craft at an early age.

Soon after being promoted to a waiter at the age of 18, Adrian met a guest who introduced him to the art of cigars. During the 90s, smoking cigars, especially Cuban cigars, was very stylish.

Everywhere you turned, men, young and old, even women, were puffing on a Cohiba that cost as much as $50 apiece. While working, he would sell cigars to both guests and locals.

The cigar craze was good to him, and the money he made from that and from working in the restaurant provided him with the resources to go into the phone card business.

As a young man, Adrian was very prudent. It was during this time he met and formed a partnership with another young man, Sebas Bastian, and shortly after that, the Island Luck web shop became an entity.

The rest is history. He can now attempt to make up for all of his mom’s sacrifices for her family and give her everything she deserves.

What began as a desire to help his mom made him who he is today.

Thank God for mama.

Many people do not understand or appreciate Adrian’s lifestyle. Still, it is just him demonstrating that no matter how humble your roots are, with determination, you can be whatever you want to be, a message he tries to share every day.

One day, while musing over his past and where he came from, reality sank in. Where he came from and what he is today must have been from a source more excellent than he could imagine. Luck had nothing to do with it.

The blessing that flowed from his mother’s prayers framed his destiny. Out of this revelation, the notion was conceived to establish the Fox Foundation, a benevolent institution that would contribute to the well-being of the less fortunate.

Presently, there are countless people, men and women, who have benefited from Adrian’s generosity – not to mention the youth in college – through his scholarship funding or the bicycles, school supplies, and toys he buys for every kid in the Kemp Road area, every year, and the thousands of dollars in donations to the elderly and other charitable organizations. The list goes on and on.

Because of his outstanding contribution to humanity, Adrian, who is barely in his 50s, has recently been conferred with a doctorate in philanthropy by an international society institution that seeks out people from all over the world known for their acts of charity – giving him the title Dr. Adrian Fox, a title that is most deserving.

A special component of his mantra is to leave the world a better place than he met it.

Throughout his climb, he made friends with people from all walks of life, rich and poor and, unlike many people, philanthropist Adrian has not forgotten his roots.

The moral of this story is to honor your parents, so that all may go well with you.

God bless you, my friend.

God bless The Bahamas.

Anthony Pratt

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