Best $3 I ever Spent

"Hey Sejal! I'm trying to win a contest at work today. If you are willign to help, a $3 donation to this page would be awesome! I'm trying to win an AMAZING prize (that I can't reveal, for legal reasons but if I win, I'll clue you in :))" Needless to say, I was intrigued. And the fact that it was Samarth who was asking me. You see Samarth is one of those friends that I don't talk to or see too often, but when we do catch up or I reminisce about our conversations, it's impossible not to smile. We met in college but became friends after we took a class together at the University of Illinois. (Which really worked out for me: I could barely make 10am classes and he would be there in the front row, ready to go.)  Since I graduated and moved to the west coast, we've kept in touch through the web and random rendez-vouses (Is that how you would write the plural of rendez-vous? Anyone?) on trips back to Chicago. Since I graduated (he's a couple of years younger than I am), Samarth went on to do a study abroad in Dubai, graduated from the U of I, went on to get his MA from UChicago (told you he was a smart cookie!), and is now working on Obama's campaign. Not only is he a smart cat (intellectual and not-so-intellectual conversation and debate tend to follow him), and talented (he can sing [sixth from the right in the video and he's still the only person who's ever sang 'Happy Birthday' to me, well!] and dance [which bodes well when you're the kinda gal who can't help but bob to the beat whenever you hear good music]), but he has the kind of spirit and curiosity that makes everyday an adventure.

Back to the story: it was a random request and pretty ambiguous, but hey, if I could help a friend out, I'm all for it! So I donated $3. (Actually, I think I might have donated twice because of a credit card snafu. Still worth it.) A few days later, this is the email I (and others who donated) recieved:

"Dear family and friends,

Thank you very much for donating to my Grassroots Fundraising Page last week to help me win our staff contest. With your help, I was able to win the competition before the midnight deadline by just 6 donations. Things really came down to the wire, but I'm happy that with your help I was able to win. 
On Wednesday, President Obama visited the campaign headquarters, where I work, and I was able to personally meet him, shake his hand and take a picture with him. The interaction lasted all of 20 seconds, but it was a major highlight of this campaign for me. President Obama asked me my name and I introduced myself, and then he went on to thank me for my hard work. In response I thanked him for all he has done. We then quickly took a photo and he was off to other events he had around Chicago. 
Thank you again for donating to the campaign to help me win the contest, it means a lot to me that I had your support,
Samarth"
Shut the front door and turn off the porch light! How awesome is that?!!?!? I'm super happy for him, and jealous too! Meeting Barack is on my bucket list :-) Yup, I knew there was a reason we're friends. Now, if only next time I can get him to put in a good word for me...20 seconds is enough time for that, right?

Samarth meets Barack Obama

Best $3 (or $6?) I ever spent.

2012 Preview: Challenging, Rewarding, Memorable (Part 2)

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