The Woodwork Angel

The Woodwork Angel

From A 4th Course of Chicken Soup for the Soul

The Woodwork Angel

Men are rich only as they give. He who gives great service gets great returns.

Elbert Hubbard

My teeth screamed. I couldn’t neglect them any longer. I finally ignored my fear of dentists and decided to get them fixed. But how? I was a college sophomore and barely supported myself with part-time jobs.

Maybe I could fix the worst one. I flipped open the Yellow Pages and called the first dentist within walking distance. The receptionist told me to come right over. As I hurried across the campus, I forgot the pain in worrying about how I would pay the bill.

In a few minutes I was in a chair being examined by a dentist who said, “Hmm!” as he surveyed the wreckage of my mouth. “Your teeth are in bad shape.”

“I already know that,” I snapped, in a smart-aleck way to hide my fear.

“But don’t worry, I’m going to fix them.”

“No, you’re not. I can’t afford to pay you.” I started climbing out of the chair.

“What are you doing?”

“I told you, I have no money.”

“You’re a student at the university, aren’t you?”

What dfference d id that make ? “Yes.. .”

“You’re going to graduate in a few years, aren’t you?”

“I hope so.”

“And then you expect to get a job, don’t you?”

“That’s my plan.”

“Well, then you’ll pay me. Meantime, you concentrate on your classes and leave the dentistry to me.”

I stared at him. He really meant it. He calmly picked up his tools and fixed the aching cavity.

From that day on, I saw him every week until my teeth were in good shape. And he kept them that way with regular checkups. After graduation, I got a job and settled his bill in a few months.

In the 40 years following, I’ve learned to call this man a “woodwork angel.” These are strangers who appear out of nowhere—out of the woodwork—when I need help. They’ve lent and given me money, materials or equipment; they’ve taught me skills and helped me organize groups; sometimes they’ve rescued me from danger or making a big mistake. So, dentist dear, wherever you are, bless you and thank you again!

Vard a One

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