True happiness

Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola was once asked by a radio presenter in a telephone interview, “Sir what can you remember that made you the happiest in life?”

Femi said, “I have gone through four stages of happiness in life and finally I understood the meaning of true happiness.”

“The first stage was of accumulating wealth and means. But at this stage I did not get the happiness I wanted.

“Then came the second stage of collecting valuables and items. But I realised that the effect of these things is also temporary and their lustre does not last long.

“Then came the third stage of getting big projects. That was when I was holding 95% of diesel supply in Nigeria and Africa. I was also the largest vessel owner in Africa and Asia. But even here I did not get the happiness I had imagined. 

“The fourth stage was the time a friend of mine asked me to buy wheelchairs for some disabled children. Just about 200 kids. 

“At the friend’s request, I immediately bought the wheelchairs. But the friend insisted that I go with him and hand over the wheelchairs to the children. I got ready and went with him. 

“There I gave these wheelchairs to these children with my own hands. I saw the strange glow of happiness on the faces of these children. I saw them all sitting on the wheelchairs, moving around and having fun. 

“It was as if they had arrived at a picnic spot where they are sharing a jackpot prize.

“I felt REAL joy inside me. When I was about to leave, one of the kids grabbed my legs. I tried to free my legs gently but the child stared at my face and held my legs tightly.

“I bent down and asked the child: Do you need something else?

“The answer this child gave me not only made me happy but also changed my attitude to life completely.

“This child said: I want to remember your face so that when I meet you in heaven, I will be able to recognise you and thank you once again.”

Femi Otedola (born 1962) is a Nigerian businessman, philanthropist, and former chairman of Forte Oil PLC, an importer of fuel products. He is also the founder of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, and the owner of a number of other businesses across shipping, real estate and finance.