From Chicken Soup for the Soul Daily Inspirations for Women

January 17

At age eighteen I left my home in New York and went off to study in England. It was an exciting but stressful time, especially since I was still learning to cope with my father’s recent death.

While at the market one day, I rushed over to help an elderly gentleman having difficulty holding onto his walking stick and his bag of apples. So began my friendship with Mr. Burns. I visited with him twice a week, always on the same days. Although Mr. Burns talked, he allowed me the lion’s share.

One day I paid my visit on an “off day.” Coming up to the house, I saw him working in his garden, bending with ease and getting up with equal facility.

“When were you able to . . . walk normally again?” I asked, puzzled.

“I guess that’d be the very next day after our first meeting. I saw how unhappy you were, and I knew you needed someone to talk to. I didn’t think you’d come if you knew I was fit.”

And so the man I’d set out to help helped me. He’d made a gift of his time, bestowing attention and kindness on a young girl who needed both.

Marlena Thompson

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