Alex was a european (English maybe) man in his mid thirties, he was sitting in a Tsim Sha Tsui cafe as he always did on weekend afternoons.
He had moved to Hong Kong several years earlier and although he was a working professional and quite well-off, he never really seemed to hit it off socially. He did have some work colleagues and business contacts who occasionally invited him out for dinner or for a drink but, he never really seemed to make any close friends. Alex was just 5' 5'' tall and conscious of being short.
The real irony about Alex was that he originally moved to Hong Kong because his smaller than average size made him feel inadequate in some ways, he had gone to Hong Kong thinking that many of the Chinese locals would be of similar height to him and he would 'fit in' more.
It was true that Alex was about the average height to the population of Hong Kong people but, the cultural and language difference had made it hard for him to find any real friends or indeed a partner.
So, it was an ordinary boring Saturday afternoon in the cafe, Alex sat alone with his latte coffee, read the local gazette and smoked a ciggy or two, he had picked the habit up in Hong Kong, nearly everyone there seemed to smoke.
The Tsim Sha Tsui cafe was unusually crowded for a Saturday afternoon, maybe there was something on in the city centre. As all the tables filled up new customers who were just entering had no choice but to sit with strangers.
A chinese gentleman asked Alex if he could share his table. Alex agreed and the man sat down facing Alex. Although Alex was reasonably good with the Chinese language (mandarin) he wasn't the type of person to strike up a conversation unless he needed to. However, the Chinese man, Jackie, (lots of Hong Kong Chinese adopted western names) opposite him quickly started trying to chat with Alex in good English. Being polite, Alex chatted with Jackie for a few moments and soon they became quite friendly.
Suddenly there was a loud cracking sound that echoed through the mural clad cafe walls, people sitting inside stood up to see what was going on, as did Alex and Jackie, as it happens it turned out to be nothing more than a car back-firing.
While standing, Jackie remarked that Alex was very small for a European, by contrast Jackie was tall for a Chinese at 5' 9''. In fact if you could have swapped them around they would have both been 'normal' height.
Alex exclaimed that he was rather short but it didn't bother him, he also said that Jackie was unusually tall for a Chinese.
Jackie then asked Alex if he wished he was a little taller. Being a modest man Alex said " well yes... I suppose, but there's not a lot I can do about it" Jackie quipped "that's just what I used to think"
What happened next was to change Alex's life (and size) forever.
Jackie simply reeled off or asked Alex some thought provoking questions as follows:
Jackie continued: you could always put something on your head to make you look taller, like a big hat or some type of wig, but of course that would look silly and people would know how high you really were. Maybe you could try wearing high heel shoes, again a man in high heels does look a little strange or feminine and this would counter your self-esteem before you even began to think about looking taller.
Well just imagine if you could somehow add on a few inches somewhere in the middle. Somewhere that nobody else would notice anything different about you except that you were a bit taller Jackie then asked Alex if he would like to join him in a walk down to the harbour, Alex agreed and they set off. It was only half a mile and Alex had little else to do anyway.
On reaching the harbour Jackie pointed out some old fishing boats and a dredger or two as well. The tide was almost out so the water level was low, Jackie and Alex walked down some steps towards the old fishing boats. On a platform in between two sets of steps Jackie pointed out a water measure on the harbour wall, it was used by boat owners and people who workrd in the harbour to gauge the tidal conditions & water heights, a plimsoll line, it's called.
Jackie stood straight up in front of the line and asked Alex to work out his height. Although Alex couldn't be 100% accurate he judged Jackie to be around 5' 9'' tall.
Jackie then went on to tell Alex that he was once the same height as Alex (5'5'') only a few months before and was now almost 4'' taller. Jackie also pointed out that he lived just a few 100 feet from the harbour and that he would like Alex to come to his house to see something that may shock him. Again Alex agreed and the pair walked up to Jackie's house. While the two were sharing a cup of green tea Jackie mentioned a photo on the mantle piece.
The picture was of Jackie and was taken only a few months earlier, Jackie then specifically showed Alex that the picture was taken from the same spot in the harbour that they had both just been to. Now, what Alex saw made his jaw drop, In the picture Jackie could clearly be seen stood against the plimsoll line and to Alex's amazement his height was no more than 5'5'' at last, Alex had seen some conclusive proof that Jackie did indeed used to be several inches smaller.
Somewhat puzzled, Alex asked Jackie the obvious question, How did you get taller in only a short time?
Jackie told Alex that his new found height had come about instantly while he was working in Europe earlier that year.
Being Chinese, Jackie had been smaller than the average man in Belgium and so had realised an idea to increase his height by a few inches.
Now came the sting, Jackie told Alex that he was prepared to tell him the secret but he would have to pay, and pay through the nose! HK$6,000 that's about £500 or US$750 Alex looked shocked and quickly declined Jackie's extortionate offer.
Jackie told Alex that "The difference between them was that he had reacted to his problem and Alex was resigned to his problem" Alex left Jackie's house with a bit of a flee in his ear that evening.
That night, Alex couldn't sleep for thinking abouts the days events. He even thought that Jackie may have gone into the Tsim Sha Tsui cafe to look for small people to try to sell his secret to. Alex also tossed and turned on the feeling he may have just overlooked the best offer he would ever get of becoming taller. After all £500 to Alex was barely a weeks salary and he had savings in the bank that he didn't know what to do with.
The next morning (Sunday) Alex decided to get up early and go and visit Jackie's house again, before spending another afternoon in the cafe. He realized there was a secret to lengthening the legs to become tall.
Alex bought Jackie's secret and paid over the cash. It was the best $750 / £500 that he had ever spent.
One thing that still kept Alex deep in thought was the advice that came along with the secret.
Jackie said thay Alex would be better off staying in Hong Kong, as his extra height would make him stand out in the crowd. If he returned to Europe he would be just average at 5'8''
We'll let you ponder what Alex did next but, I will tell you that Alex later passed the secret on to us for $700 / £400. This is how The grow taller sitewas started. Now we are trying to sell Jackie's secret to increasing your height, directly to you, The big difference is, that we sell it many times over and only charge you $20 / £10