How former US president George H. W. Bush's choice of socks changed my life

By King Chan Hoi-king, Yu Chun Keung Memorial College

The former US president wore a pair of socks designed by John Cronin, a young entrepreneur who has Down syndrome

By King Chan Hoi-king, Yu Chun Keung Memorial College |

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George H.W. Bush wore a pair of John's Crazy Socks at the funeral of Barbara Bush.

I was recently drawn to a news story about the socks that the former US president George H.W. Bush wore to his wife’s funeral. The socks were colourful and had flying books on them. I was filled with admiration when I learned a little more about the designer’s background.

He is John Cronin, and he has Down syndrome. He was only a high school graduate when he came up with the idea of selling crazy, colourful socks. With the help of his father, he earned his first million in 10 months. What is even more impressive is his dedication to giving back to others. He adds candies and a handwritten card to every order. On top of that, he designs socks to raise awareness of different diseases, donates a percentage of his profits to a number of charitable organisations, and frequently sends socks to people for free. 

His success is proof that education and qualifications aren’t the most important factor in determining one’s success. What’s more important is hard work and a “never-give-up” spirit when faced with obstacles. If John can do it, then the rest of us shouldn’t give up so easily.

John has made me believe that I am capable of making a difference in the world. I would like to be a scientist in the future. In the past, I just thought about making money and being successful. Now, I would like to find ways to give back to the community and make my life meaningful in doing so. 

John, you can’t imagine how much you have empowered me! Thank you very much!

King Chan Hoi-king, Yu Chun Keung Memorial College

From the Editor

Thank you, Hoi-king, for your uplifting letter. It’s wonderful to know that you have been inspired to look past “the money”. What John and his father are doing is remarkable and it is always good to hear about people who break the boundaries in life.

We think that having a “meaningful” life is far more important than being “rich and successful”. People should never discount the idea of “meaning” in their lives. It’s what keeps them alive.

Austrian neurologist, Viktor Frankl, would agree with you. He survived the Holocaust – the horrific conditions forced upon innocents by the Nazis of Germany. He used his time in these terrible conditions to try to work out why some people seemed to survive the horror better than others. He brought it down to one word: “meaning.” He said: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

It seems you have accepted the challenge, Hoi-king.

Susan, Editor