Vinod, a man with a big heart, a great friend, and former colleague at IBM a couple decades ago. He is originally from India, does not speak any Spanish and is very unfamiliar with Mexican culture.
Despite all this, Vinod spends his weekends teaching math to children of Mexican origin who live here in Silicon Valley and who’s parents are mostly undocumented. He is convinced that education is what’s going to get them ahead in this world.
As he gets to know each family’s story, their challenges and virtues, he invites them into his home on Sundays to advise them on financial discipline and savings culture, he manages permits, restructures their scarce possessions to make better use of them, helps relocate them if they live in a place that threatens the health and good education of their children, and even accompanies them to court to lower the penalties if they have received a ticket for a traffic violation. When necessary, he uses Google Translate to write instructions in Spanish to his advisees.
He once expressed to me concernedly that he still wanted to help more because he was graced with extra time and resources, but his limited Spanish was hindering the trust and rapport with new families. He asked me to introduce his cause to my circle in order to draw more families for him to continue helping. I did not hesitate.
This is what Silicon Valley is all about. The openness to help, support with nothing tangible in return is entirely inspiring.
This man has earned the title of Angel Investor, but above all he has surely earned a very special place in Heaven.