A stranger’s $50 tip and advice convinced this Philly bakery worker to return to college. Then she soared, writes Susan Snyder for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
In 2016, Anyssa El Manfaa was working at a South Philadelphia bakery during a convention of students, scholars, and scientists. A customer was chatting with her about quantum mechanics and infinity.
He handed her $50 and said, “You shouldn’t be working in a bakery. You should be in a classroom.”
The customer inspired her to quit her job and enroll at the Community College of Philadelphia, where she earned an associate degree, one of 61 students nationwide to receive a Jack Kent Cooke scholarship. She plans to earn a bachelor’s degree at Swarthmore College in conflict resolution and peace studies.
El Manfaa had lost her Moroccan father to deportation at age 4, began working at 13, was bullied in school and had tried college once before and couldn’t handle it while juggling two jobs.
Now, she wishes she could thank the man who so favorably altered her life.
“He saw past my apron and my name tag,” El Manfaa, 21, said during an interview. “He saw me for me.”
Read more about Anyssa El Manfaa’s experience here.