In The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions That Determine Personal Success, author Andy Andrews weaves a fictional tale about a man who loses his job and money, but finds his way after he is magically transported into seven key points in history.
Here are excerpts, from Chapters 2 and 3 of the book.
SEVEN MONTHS LATER, DAVID FELT LIKE A BEATEN man. The health insurance coverage from his former employer had run its course, and the part-time job David took at a hardware store provided little more than minimum wage. Ellen was making more money than he was. She had placed hand-printed advertisements on bulletin boards all over town and was cleaning houses five days a week. Every day for months, David continued to search for a job. The seemingly endless stream of rejections confused him. At least I'm on my way up, he kept telling himself. It can't get any worse. But it did. That morning had dawned cold and hard. It was everything David had always hated about winter. The sky was the color of dirty water, and the below-freezing temperature, carried by a nasty wind, cut David like the thrusts of a thousand knives. Struggling into the used car he had bought with a loan from his father, David cursed at nothing and no one in particular.
The car seemed to David a constant reminder of his failure. He had answered an ad in the newspaper and paid a high school kid nine hundred dollars for what he had hoped would be temporary transportation. It was a two-door Dodge Colt, mostly faded silver except for the right fender, which was black. The brake lights quit about ten minutes after David completed the sale, and the heater had never worked in the first place.
Shivering as he drove to work, David's mind was as numb as his body. Ellen had been up most of the night with Jenny. The child had suffered with a fever and sore throat now for three days, and with the lack of sleep, none of them were feeling well. Jenny, however, was truly sick. It was the fifth or sixth time she had been ill this winter. David had lost count.
When he had gotten out of the shower that morning, he heard Ellen hanging up the phone. "Who was that?" David asked.
"It was Dr. Reed's office, David," she said. "I've got to take her in to see what's wrong. Tylenol isn't handling this."
"What kind of parent am I?" David said aloud, interrupting his reverie as he pulled the Colt into a parking place behind Marshall's Hardware. "What kind of person am I? What has happened to me?"
When Ellen mentioned the doctor, he blew up. Where did she think the money was coming from, he yelled, and of course, she yelled right back that she'd steal it if she had to. This was their daughter, she shouted. Didn't he care about that anymore? As David left the house, he went by Jenny's room to kiss her good-bye. She had big tears rolling down her face. Jenny had heard everything.