Oliver Daemen, the 18 year old Dutch student who made history by becoming the first passenger on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space ride, doesn’t want people to get the wrong impression.
“Things weren’t always peaches and cream,” the young man told The Brown Valley Observer. “My father had humble beginnings.”
Daemen spoke vividly of his father Joes, the billionaire hedgefund manager who coughed up nearly $28 million so that his son could have the privilege to be the first teenager to travel to the edge of space.
“You know, I was almost not the son of a billionaire? As frightening as it might seem to me now, my father wasn’t always the kind of man who had $28 million to splurge on a space ride for his son. But, now that he is, he understandably certainly wouldn’t want me to grow up not knowing the wonders of space travel that he did not know in his comparably shabby formative years,” the young man said. “In fact, because my father experienced hardships he would never want me to experience, he’s certain to never allow me to endure even a moment’s discomfort on my way to the absolutely perfect life that I clearly deserve. After all, what kind of man would deny his only-born son even his wildest fantasies, no matter the expense?”
Oliver reveled in tales of hardship his father had conferred to him, including a time when he was forced to survive with a domestic luxury automobile, and a time when had no household waitstaff during the holidays while he waited for the agency to replace the previous staff whom he had fired.
“Those moments really shaped my father, as a person and as a human being. It’s hard not to respect a man who’s done his own laundry once or twice, you know? That is a man with real world skills and experiences, a man with a grasp of what it’s like to be blue-collar.”
Daemen says he often sees his father trying to instill values of last-resort hard work and bare-bones self reliance in him.
“When I got to be around 15 he asked me if I would like to do menial jobs abound our expansive estate, handling refuse containers and the like even though we already have hands hired to care for such matters. I said no, of course, but I knew then that he was setting out to make a man of me. Honestly, I wasn’t ready at the time. In fact, to this day I’m not sure when I will ever be ready to be the kind of man he is: the kind of man who has experienced inconvenience.”
Asked if he had any advice to give to young people around the world, the finishing school graduate offered, “Look, I am not so naive that I do not realize how fortunate I am to have a very rich father who can afford to spend $28 million so that I can ride a space ride. I am not so naive, either, that I do not know that other people may not have it quite as easy as I have, being raised with such wealth. To those young people whose parents cannot afford such luxury, I say: don’t be afraid to pick up that extra shift at Bojangles or Dairy Queen, or to pick up that extra night of babysitting. Save up those extra shifts and maybe you can afford to go to space all on your own someday.”