Man Spends His $400 Paycheck on Poor Nephew Who Had No Toys – 15 Years Later, He Has the Perfect ‘Payback’

Inspiring Stories

As a parent, there’s nothing you want more than to see your children happy and smiling. You want to give them the world — even if you’re not in a financial position to do so. This is just one example of the ancient philosophy of “hoi sum” — the Cantonese word for “open heart.”

“Hoi Sum: the common phrase to describe being happy in Cantonese. But more literally it means ‘open heart.’”

Steven Elliot Ng

When a poor family could only provide for the essentials for their children growing up, one big hearted family member stepped in — and his efforts made all of the difference.

His generosity was never forgotten. Little did he know, his selfless act of kindness would pay off in the most unimaginable way, 15 years later.

In a heartwarming Facebook post, the Elliott Havok Founder recalled the harsh reality of his tough childhood; needless to say, this is one rags-to-riches story that will melt your heart.

Growing Up Poor: He Never Had a Toy of His Own

Before he was on the cover of Forbes 30 Under 30, Stephen Elliot Ng was just a young boy, with big dreams and no clear cut path to make them come true.

Growing up in a poor town in China, Steven knew he wasn’t in the same boat as the other kids his age. For one, Steven’s parents had so little to offer their children financially, they could barely afford to keep their family afloat. While Steven never resented this and was grateful for all his parents provided, like any kid his age, he wished one day that he too could have a toy of his own to play with.

When you’re just a kid, even if you’re smiling on the outside, that doesn’t always reflect how you feel on the inside. It’s easy to think you’re fooling everyone into thinking you’re okay even if you’re not, but one close family member was paying more attention than Steven could have ever imagined.

Steven’s uncle struggled to find a job in the competitive and cutthroat economy, but he vowed when he did, his first order of business would be giving his two nephews a gift they’d never forget. Despite the incredible challenges, this uncle decided to take matters into his own hands — and it’s an action that left a lasting impression on Steven and his brother.

His Month’s Salary Was $400

When Steven’s uncle finally managed to nail a job down — it wasn’t most people’s idea of “success.”

After working a full time job, his monthly salary amounted to a meagre $400 dollars (that shakes out to a shocking $0.80 an hour). Yet, despite the horrific pay for the hard labor, Steven’s uncle toiled day and night with one purpose in mind — and it’s not the one you’d think.

Instead of trying to save his pennies and put food on his own table, Steven’s uncle had a bigger feeling put on his heart, and he was determined to make it happen one way or another.

A Gesture He’d Never Forget — “It Was Pretty Much the Ultimate Gift”

In the early 2000’s, the PS2 was all the rage! Who could forget that glorious black gaming console every kid wanted to get their hands on? With hours and hours of endless on-screen fun, the state of the art gift was at the top of every kid’s Christmas wish list — except Steven’s.

For Steven, a “playstation” was the kind of gift he could only dream of — he just had no idea that this was one of his dreams that would be coming true. The first of many, in fact.

“About 15 years ago, my uncle, who lives in China, sent my brother and I a gift— a PS2. It was pretty much the ultimate gift, especially considering we did not get any toys growing up. With an open heart, he spent a whole month’s salary ($400, yeah we were poor as f**k) just to make us happy.”

Steven Elliott Ng, Founder of Elliot Havok

The cutting edge gadget was the highlight of Steven’s childhood. For a kid growing up a modest environment like the one Steven did, toys aren’t just a fun escape — they’re a creative outlet too. When we play, our imagination grows and when our imagination grows, we can begin to plant the seeds for the impossible.

Even though it may have seemed like just a toy — for Steven the gift his uncle gave him was so much more. It represented unconditional love and the sacrifice the goes along with it and when a child grows up feeling love like that? It can be the most powerful thing. In fact, for the future tech mogul, it may have been a “game changer” — literally.

15 Years Later — He Gave Him the Payback of a Lifetime

young man standing next to a car

In good times and in bad, a tight knit family that struggles together, stays together. As it turns out, hard work and dreaming big was genetic in this family!

As he grew up, Steven would spend hundreds of hours studying and working tirelessly day and night to build a life he was proud of. He didn’t know what that life would look like or when he would get there, but he knew one day he’d return the favor his uncle gave him all those years ago.

It’s easy to say, his ‘payback’ didn’t disappoint. As he was starting to build a business brick by brick, before he even became “successful,” Steven’s first order of business was getting his uncle back in the best way! His first big pay day went to the perfect person!

“We promised him we’d return the favour for many years and today we got him a new SUV.”

Steven Elliott Ng

It may have taken 15 years, but boy did it feel good when Steven handed his uncle the keys to a brand new SUV! Steven’s hard work just goes to show, while the good things in life are rarely instant, there’s no question that rolling up our sleeves and paving our own way is far more rewarding than getting our whole life handed to us (it’s why grandma’s homemade cookie recipe handed down for generations is better than any old store bought biscuit).

His Childhood Left a Lasting Impression

It’s no coincidence that Steven’s successful business model — which would later land him a coveted feature in Forbes magazine — would be retailing luxury watches and wallets at an affordable price.

It’s easy to see how Steven’s upbringing influenced the vision he had behind his company.

Growing up, all Steven wanted was to have access to the same things everyone else his age did. He didn’t think that enjoying the finer things should come with such a high price tag.

As an entrepreneur, his “affordable luxury” business model was informed by his childhood and wanting to be the change he wanted to see in the world. Steven wanted to make “nice things” accessible for everyone — and it clearly paid off!

Living Life With an Open Heart

The art of hoi sum — living with an open heart — reminds us we don’t need to wait for unimaginable riches to start giving back to those we love. It’s easy to procrastinate generosity, especially when we’re looking at how little we feel we have to give.

It’s no secret “it’s better to give than to receive,” is easier said than done. However giving generously can come in many forms. It’s not all cash and prizes. Giving generously can look like sitting down with your little niece and nephew and listening to them talk about their favorite princess or taking them to the park on your day off.

In fact, gifts (in the traditional sense) aren’t necessarily the greatest thing we have to give. More often than not, it’s our time. It’s the most precious thing we have, it’s always running out, but spending it with others is what we remember most.

“Whether it’s friends or family, remember why you wake up in the morning. I strive to be hoi sum. I’ve come to learn that being happy and having an open heart are synonymous.”

Steven Elliot Ng

This holiday season, this family’s story is a meaningful reminder of why we all could benefit by practicing the art of hoi sum!

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