A beggar was sitting at a train station with a bowl full of pencils. A young executive passed by and dropped a dollar into the bowl, but didn’t take any pencils. He then boarded the train; just before the doors were closed, the executive suddenly exited the train and went back to the beggar.
He grabbed a bunch of pencils, and said, “I will take some pencils. They are priced right. After all, you are a business person and so am I”, and he dashed back on to the train.
Several years later, the executive attended a party. A person in suit and tie went up to the executive and said, “You probably don’t recognize me, I remember you.” He then narrated the railway station incident. The executive said, “Now I do recall that you were begging. What are you doing here in a suit and tie?”
The beggar replied, “You probably don’t know what you did for me that day. Instead of giving me charity, you treated me with dignity. You grabbed the bunch off pencils and said, ‘They are priced right. After all, you are a business person and so am I.’ After you left, I thought to myself — what am I doing here? Why am I begging? I decided to do something constructive with my life. I packed my bag, started working and here I am. I just want to thank you for giving me back my dignity. That incident changed my life.”
“What a man thinks of himself: that is what determines, or rather indicates, his fate,” says Henry David Thoreau.