A few years ago, a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago.
They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night’s dinner. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of baskets of apples.
Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding. All but one. He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned. He told his buddies to go on without him, waved goodbye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination, and explain his taking a later flight.
Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor. He was glad he did. The 16-year-old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration and, at the same time, helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping, and no one to care for her plight.
The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them into the baskets, and helped set the display up once more. As he did this, he noted that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket. When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, “Here, please take this $20 for the damage we did. Are you okay?” She nodded through her tears. He continued with, “I hope we didn’t spoil your day too badly.”
As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, “Mister….” He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, “Thank you.”
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest accomplishment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
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