Captain Grose's Motivation pages

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FOR THE LOVE OF A SON

 

 
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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 president of Harvard's outer office.

The  secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn't even deserve to be in Cambridge. She  frowned.

"We want to see the president," the man said softly.

"He'll be busy all day," the secretary snapped.

"We'll wait," the lady replied.

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, even though it was a chore she always regretted  to do.

"Maybe if they just see you for a few minutes, they'll leave," she told him. And he sighed in exasperation and nodded.  Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with them, but he detested  gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office.

The  president, stern-faced with dignity, strutted toward the couple.

The lady told  him, "We had a son that attended Harvard for one year.  He loved Harvard.  He was happy here.  But about year ago, he was accidentally killed, and 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  at the gingham dress and  homespun suit, then exclaimed, "A building!  Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a  half million dollars in the physical plant at Harvard."

For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. He could get rid of them now. And 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.

And then Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford walked away, traveling to Palo Alto,  California where they established the University that  bears their name, 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 can do nothing for them or to them.    

--Malcolm Forbes


Email -- jdgrose115@polyglut.net
Web -- http://members.tripod.com/~jdgrose115/

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