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    1 posts, 1 voices, 353 views, started Jun 8, 2009

    Posted on Monday, June 8, 2009 by Denise Richardson


    • Diamond


      It was a bitter, cold evening in northern Virginia many years ago. The old
      man’s beard was glazed by winter’s frost while he waited for a ride across
      the river. The wait seemed endless. His body became numb and stiff from
      the frigid north wind.

      He heard the faint, steady rhythm of approaching hooves galloping along the
      frozen path. Anxiously, he watched as several horsemen rounded the bend.
      He let the first one pass by without an effort to get his attention. Then
      another passed by, and another. Finally, the last rider neared the spot
      where the old man sat like a snow statue. As this one drew near, the old
      man caught the rider’s eye and said, “Sir, would you mind giving an old man
      a ride to the other side? There doesn’t appear to be a passageway by foot.”

      Reining his horse, the rider replied, “Sure thing. Hop aboard.” Seeing the
      old man was unable to lift his half-frozen body from the ground, the
      horseman dismounted and helped the old man onto the horse. The horseman
      took the old man not just across the river, but to his destination, which
      was just a few miles away.

      As they neared the tiny but cozy cottage, the horseman’s curiosity caused
      him to inquire, “Sir, I notice that you let several other riders pass by
      without making an effort to secure a ride. Then I came up and you
      immediately asked me for a ride. I’m curious why, on such a bitter winter
      night, you would wait and ask the last rider. What if I had refused and
      left you there?”

      The old man lowered himself slowly down from the horse, looked the rider
      straight in the eyes, and replied, “I’ve been around these here parts for
      some time. I reckon I know people pretty good.” The old-timer continued, “I
      looked into the eyes of the other riders and immediately saw there was no
      concern for my situation. It would have been useless even to ask them for a
      ride. But when I looked into your eyes, kindness and compassion were
      evident. I knew, then and there, that your gentle spirit would welcome the
      opportunity to give me assistance in my time of need.”

      Those heartwarming comments touched the horseman deeply. “I’m most
      grateful for what you have said,” he told the old man. “May I never get
      too busy in my own affairs that I fail to respond to the needs of others
      with kindness and compassion.”

      With that, Thomas Jefferson turned his horse around and made his way back
      to the White House.  


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