By Maz Jobrani
Growing up, my family didn’t have any coming of age traditions. No bar mitzvahs, no crownings, nothing. There was, however, one incident in college when I became a man.
My dad was very generous to us. A self-made millionaire back in Iran, he was able to bring a lot of money with him to the U.S. and spoil us. Like Vito Corleone from The Godfather, he was a larger than life character, always helping people out.
I became used to this until I went to college and felt it was time to stop accepting money and become a man – except for one last time. In my first week, my father gave me a couple hundred dollars. A few weeks later, I paid him back with a check. He was shocked and asked in a thick Persian accent, “Vhat iz dis?”
“I’m paying you back.”
“Ha! You pay me back? I keep in my vallet, but I no cash it. I keep as souvenir!”
Fast forward a few weeks, I went to the ATM and was told that I had “insufficient funds.”
“How is that possible?” I asked myself. And then it hit me. My dad had cashed the check! He lied to me! How dare he! I was broke.
From that day forward I took responsibility for myself and my finances. I also learned that the next time I borrowed money from my dad, I would pay him back in cash.
How can you thank those who’ve helped you? How can you pay it forward?
Maz Jobrani is an Iranian-American comedian and actor.