A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband. dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and waked timidly (without an appointment) into Harvard University’s Pr esident’s outer office.

The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods contry hicks had no business at Harvard and prob ably didn’t deserve to be in Cambridge. We’d like to see the President the man said softly.

“He’ll be busy all day.” The secretary snapped.

“We’ll wait.” The lady replied.

For several hours the secretary ignored them hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. T hey didn’t and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted.

“Maybe if you ‘ll see them for a few minutes. they’ll leave,’ she said to him. He sighed in exasperation and nodded, Someone of his mportance obviously ddn’t have the time to spend with then and he reallyt detested gingham dresses and homespun suits.cluttering up his outer office. The president, stern faced and with dignity. strutted toward the couple.

 The lady told him. ‘We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was real happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like very much to erect memorial to 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 tidy 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 yon have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a halt million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard.

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

Stanford UniversityThe lady turned to her husband and said quietly “Is that all it cost to start a new university? Why don’t we start our own ?

Her husband nodded. The President’s face wilted in confusion and bewilderment.

Thereupon, Mr. And Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away to continue traveling 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 You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them.


A TRUE STORY by: Malcolm Forbes

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