The bartender noticed him as soon as the man walked in through the door. He recognized the droopy shoulders and the head tipped downwards, telltale signs the stranger needed something special.
"What'll it be?" the bartender asked.
"Anything. Just make give me a shot."
The bartender placed a shot glass in front of the distraught customer and pulled out what appeared to be an empty bottle with no label on it.
"This one's on the house," the bartender said as he tipped the bottle.
"Is this some kind of joke?"
"It's my specialty. Drink up."
The shot was tasteless and odorless. Invisible. The customer was looking around for the hidden cameras, suspecting he was part of some silly prank. Playing along, he asked for another shot.
"What am I drinking?"
"It's a shot of faith."
"Yes, faith. It's a drink they don't teach you about in bartending school. I discovered it a low point in my life. Ever since I found it, my life has completely turned around."
As the customer listened to the bartender speak, he felt some kind of tingling sensation flowing through his body. His head no longer felt so heavy and his posture straightened.
The bartender looked deeply into the man's eyes and asked, "is everything okay?"
Tears welled up inside the man's eyes and he replied, "you gave me what I needed. You see, I was just laid off from my job and things at home aren't going very well. I was trying to work up the courage to end my life so my wife and kids could cash in on my life insurance policy. I came in here to get a couple of drinks so I could finish the job."
Suddenly, Beethoven's Ode to Joy was blaring from the man's pocket. The man broke down as he pulled out his cell phone and answered the call from his wife.
"Hi love, like the music? I reprogrammed your ringtone while you were in the shower this morning to brighten your day, honey. How is everything?" his wife asked.
"It's the first time my phone rang all day. I'll be home soon. Got some tough news today and we have lots to talk about. Love you."
"What do I owe you?" the man asked, pulling out his wallet.
"I work for tips," the bartender replied. "And the best tip you can give me is to tell your friends about this place. My name is Michael."
"Nice to meet you, Michael. I'll be bringing my wife in next time. Her name is Chara. It's the Greek word for Joy. Every day she does something to remind me of her. I know she's gonna love it. Wow, that faith stuff you gave me is making me feel a whole lot better. I think I just found my new favorite drink."
The man left a twenty dollar bill on the counter and said good-bye to his new friend.
"Come back soon," the bartender said.
"It's a promise," the customer said as he put his cell phone away and headed for the door while humming the music from his new ringtone...