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Raj Kumar Makkad (Adv P & H High Court Chandigarh)     06 November 2009

Never Underestimate f

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 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.

"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.

"May be 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 them, but he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office.

The President, stem faced and with dignity, strutted towards the couple.

The lady told him, "We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial for him, somewhere on the 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, and then exclaimed, "A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard. "For a moment the lady was silent.

The President was pleased. May be 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. Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, travelling 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.


 5 Replies

Suchitra. S (Advocate)     06 November 2009

AMAZING, Sir.  The moral is too good.

1 Like

sapna (self employed)     06 November 2009

Sir, the tale is worth pondering about.

1 Like

Shriraammohan (Advocate)     08 November 2009

Moral of this story is nice.  I'm just telling it as "story" becoz it carries no real life happening. "An urban legend, widely circulated on the Internet but untrue, describes the couple as poorly-dressed country bumpkins who decided to found their own university only after being rebuffed in their offer to endow a building at Harvard. They did visit Harvard's president but were well-received and given advice on starting a new university in California."....this is the extract from the website Putting it here not to nullify the morale of the story but just to make fellow readers to aware the original facts.

2 Like

Suchitra. S (Advocate)     08 November 2009

Sir, Thanks a lot for that piece of info... :)

1 Like

Anil Agrawal (Retired)     08 November 2009

 There are people who donate unannounced. But then there are men who take TV crew along to publicise their 'philanthropy'. 

Some so-called saints also pay to media to buy time to blabber.

1 Like

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