A Story Of Kindness

Alice was walking to work in her brand new shoes. The shoes were a shiny black with low heels. She swung along happily and confidently. She turned a corner and there on a small bench off the sidewalk, sitting, was an old be-whiskered man with very worn-out shoes. The heels had almost disappeared; one of his toes was showing through the right shoe. Alice stopped, appalled, and said, “Sir, pardon me, but do you want a new pair of shoes?”

“Oh, yes,” he answered. “I want them, and I am saving my money for them. Twenty dollars they are, and I have eighteen. So, you see, I’m getting very close.”

To this Alice responded by opening her purse and pulling out two dollar bills. She bent over to hand them to the old gent, but was startled when he thrust up a hand and said, “No, no! I appreciate your kind offer, but it will be much kinder to let me save the money on my own. Just think how proud I will be when I have done it!”

Alice asked, “Is your pride so important to you, then?”

“Oh yes. Without it having good new shoes would mean nothing.”

Alice smiled, withdrawing her money, and said, “Thank you, sir, for being so kind to yourself. You are really an inspiration. Goodbye, and have a really wonderful day!”

“Good day, young lady,” said he, “Enjoy your life, and don’t worry too much about others.”

A week later Alice saw the man again, sitting on the bench with bright, new, black shoes. She stopped, smiled, drew a candy bar out of her pocket, and said, “May I give you a present for Christmas?”

He replied, “Thank you, young lady. And here is a candy cane for you.” They both laughed, exchanging presents, and then she skipped away.

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