Friday, January 8, 2010
True or not, the prnciple is absolutely appropiate considering we rush to judgement in such a rushed, visual society...
A TRUE STORY By Malcolm Forbes
A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without an appointment into the Harvard University President's outer office.
The secretary quickly assumed that such backwoods country hicks had no business at Harvard & certainly not in the President's office. "We'd like to see the president," the man said softly. "He will be busy all day," the secretary snapped. "We will wait," the lady replied softly.
For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn't, and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president against her better judgment.
"Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they'll leave," she said to him. He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with these people, and he detested the idea of folks in gingham dresses and homespun suits loitering in his outer office.
The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple and introduced himself. The lady told him: "We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was so happy here. But before he could return for his second year, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus." The president wasn't touched. He was shocked.
"Madam," he said gruffly, "we can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died.. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery." "Oh no," the lady explained quickly. "We don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard."
The president rolled his eyes. He glanced again at the gingham dress and the homspun suit. "Do you know how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings alone here at Harvard." For a moment the lady was silent.
The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now. The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, "Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don't we just start our own? " Her husband nodded. The president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment as they proudly strolled from his office.
Mr. & Mrs. Leland Stanford walked away, traveling next to Palo Alto, California where they established the university that bears their name, Stanford University, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.
You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them.