A very beautiful story told by Katherine Hepburn the day she learnt the value in Giving:
“Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus. Finally, there was only one other family between us and the ticket counter. This family made a big impression on me. There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12. The way they were dressed, you could tell they did not have a lot of money, but their clothes were neat and clean.
The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jaberring about the clowns, animals and all the acts they would be seeing that night. By their excitement you could sense they had never been to the circus before. It would be a highlight of their lives.
The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be. The mother was holding her husband’s hand, looking up at him as if to say, ‘You are my knight in shining armour’. He too was smiling and enjoying seeing his family happy. The ticket lady asked the man how much tickets he wanted. He proudly responded, ‘I would like to buy eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets, so I can take my family to the circus.’ The ticket lady stated the price. The man’s wife let go of his hand, her head dropped, the man’s lip began to quiver. Then he leaned a little closer and asked, ‘How much did you say?’ The ticket lady again stated the price. The man did not have enough money. How was he supposed to turn and tell his children that he did not have enough money to take them to the circus?
Seeing what was going on, my dad reached into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill, and then dorpped it on the ground. (We were not wealthy in any sense of the word!) My father bent down, picked up the $20 bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, ‘Excuse me, Sir, this fell out of your pocket.’ The man understood what was going on. He was not begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking and embarrasing situation. He looked straight into my dad’s eyes, took my dad’s hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with his lip quivering and a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied, ‘Thank you, thank you, Sir. This really means a lot to me and my family.’
My father and I went back to our car and drove home. The $20 bill that my dad gave away to the man is what we were going to buy our own tickets with. Although we did not get to see the circus that night, we both felt a joy inside us that was far greater and richer than seeing the circus could ever provide. We were so happy to see the laughter and joy on the faces of the man and his wife and his eight children. This is the day I have never forgotten in my life. It has taught me that there is so much happiness and bliss in Giving than in Receiving.