Three-Way Conversation

by John Bundy

It was Saturday, June 2, 2001, a beautiful sunny day in Malta. I had a day off from my duties as a TV show host. Since my wife had things to do, I took my seven-year-old daughter for lunch by the sea.

On my arrival at the beach, I saw JoJo, a wealthy man in the hotel business. I’d met JoJo during a Malta charity ball in 1998; since then, I’d seen him maybe twice. We sat down to chat in an open-air cafe while I watched my daughter enjoy herself on the swings in front of us. Our conversation varied from business to entertainment to the economy.

Suddenly, our conversation was interrupted by a stranger politely asking permission to speak to me. Often people want to tell me something about my controversial TV show when I am out on the streets.

He asked to speak to me privately, so we stood a bit away from my table. He said, “I’m James. I’m 35, and my daughter Rebecca is seven. She’s very sick with leukemia. She needs treatment abroad. Doctors assure me that if treated in the UK, she has an 80% chance of survival. I don’t have the financial means to take her over. Can you please help?”

Speechless, I stared into the man’s eyes, which were filled with tears, and asked how I could help. I took his particulars and went to sit back at the table. JoJo was having a phone conversation, but as soon as he finished, he asked, “What’s wrong with you? Your face changed.”

I told him. JoJo was sorry for this family and suggested that I had means through the media to help him. We headed off to our destinations. All weekend I thought about James, his daughter, and his family. I even thought of doing a special TV show to raise funds for this sick child.

Monday morning I was at the office early. After I finished presenting my show, my secretary said a man needed to speak to me. It was Mr. JoJo Vassallo.

I was surprised to see JoJo walk into my office; he’s so busy with his hotel business that I never imagined he had time to come and see me at the studios.

With chequebook in hand, he said, “Please call the guy with the sick child and tell him that all expenses required by him, his wife, and his sick daughter to go to the UK for treatment will be covered by myself.”

“John,” he continued, “I’ve been married for 35 years, I wasn’t lucky enough to have a child, and I want to help this child now.” I picked up the phone to call James.

Today, Rebecca is well and living a normal life, so James and Bridgette, her mum, are the happiest couple on earth. JoJo visits Rebecca. I’m so happy that there are so many good people on this earth, and so privileged to have been a part of this.

Originally published as HeroicStories #792 on March 26, 2010

1 thought on “Three-Way Conversation”

  1. I’m glad that JoJo had the resources to make this (effectively limitless) offer. It does make a little guy feel good that someone without sufficient resources to save his child’s life can get that kind of help from someone with a big heart.
    It is also important that we all realize that not every case comes out this way, nor would that be possible. Thousands of children die because of war, hunger, disease, etc, and there is no way that the JoJo Vassallos of this world can save them all. Too, not all the people with the means to help in this way have the heart to do it.
    So, thank you, JoJo. You deserve a special star on the sidewalk outside the gates of heaven.


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