A rushed businessman plunked a dollar into the cup of a man selling pencils on the sidewalk. Half a block down the street, he turned around and made his way back to the beggar. “I’m sorry,” he said as he picked out his favorite color in a pencil. “In my haste I failed to make my purchase. After all, you are a businessman just like me. Your merchandise is fairly priced and of good quality. I trust you won’t be upset with my failure to pick out my purchase.” With that he smiled and quickly went on his way.
At lunch a few months later, a neatly dressed, handsome man approached the businessman’s table and introduced himself. “I’m sure you don’t remember me, and I don’t even know your name, but your face I will never forget. You are the man who inspired me to make something of myself. I was a street bum selling pencils until you gave me back my self-respect. Now I believe I am a businessman.”
In our rush, it’s easy to demean those who are coming up the ladder of success. How have you treated the waitress, the gardener, the delivery man, the plumber, and the beggar selling newspapers this week? Did you, with your words and actions, nurture a higher level of success for that person or confirm that they are destined to stay at the bottom?
“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.” Benjamin Disraeli