Bucky was a family man who had suffered a string of unfortunate setbacks. He lost his three year old daughter to polio and soon after his wife gave birth to another daughter, he lost his job.
The family lived in Chicago's Gold Coast, but had no savings. And Bucky turned to alcohol and long walks around town to ease his pain and clear his head.
Although his future once seemed bright, he and his family were now forced into lower income housing.
During a walk home late one night, Bucky had had enough. He did the math, and concluded that he was more valuable to his family dead than alive. If he killed himself, he figured, at least they could get by from cashing in his life insurance policy.
He diverted his path down a dark street in the direction of Lake Michigan, with a plan to drown himself.
Suddenly, he felt the sensation of being elevated above the sidewalk, and being enveloped in a ball of light. A distinct voice began speaking to him:
From now on you need never await temporal attestation to your thought. You think the truth. You do not have the right to eliminate yourself. You do not belong to you. You belong to Universe. Your significance will remain forever obscure to you, but you may assume that you are fulfilling your role if you apply yourself to converting your experiences to the highest advantage of others.
Shaken by this bizarrely esoteric experience, Bucky sat on the side of the road and began to re-evaluate his life. Even though his finances and reputation were in the toilet, he had learned tremendously valuable personal and financial lessons.
Furthermore, his ideas of success had been centered around making money. He could do things differently, he thought. Try the approach suggested by the strange voice.
He resolved in that moment to allow himself to be guided by his heart, to reserve for himself the right be different, and to no longer focus solely only on making money.
His new goal would be to embark on "an experiment, to find what a single individual [could] contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity."
Bucky went on to become one of the most prolific inventors and teachers of the twentieth century, with 28 United States patents to his name--one of which was U.S. Patent 2,682,235, awarded to Richard Buckminster Fuller for his reboot of the famous geodesic dome.