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GREAT LOVE Michael Peterson

In the winter of 1990, I was asked to appear on a television talk show in Toronto. At the end of our first day of taping I was on my way back to my plush,
high-rise, cable-TV, 24-hour room-service hotel, when I saw something I'd never
seen before.
Lying on the sidewalk against a building in four inches of snow was a man sleeping with only a cardboard blanket to keep him from being completely exposed to the freezing cold. What really broke my heart was when I realized that
he wore no shoes or socks.
I thought to stop and help him, but was not quite sure what to do. As the traffic light turned green, it seemed life was demanding that I move along. So I did. Back in the "anything I wanted was mine" environment of my hotel, I promptly forgot about the man on the street.
Several days later, prior to the morning taping, I was having coffee and Danish in the greenroom at the station. All of the "important" people had left the room, and it was just me and the janitor remaining.
I had seen him quietly go about his business every day while I was there, and
he never said a word except "Good morning" or "Can I get anything for you, sir?"
He always had a smile to give to everyone. When I asked him how he was feeling
today, he told me that he'd been having to ride his bike to work in the snow and that he'd been feeling rather sorry for himself ... that is, until he saw a man sleeping down on the corner of Yonge Street and Bloor with just a piece of cardboard for covering from the cold and no shoes. I almost choked on my Danish as I heard him go on to relate how he was so moved with compassion for the man that he went around the corner to a store and bought the man a pair of socks and shoes.
As I heard the story, I saw in my mind a poster that used to be in an old friend's bedroom when I was a teenager. It was a picture of a child handing someone a flower, and the caption read: "The smallest deed always exceeds the grandest of intentions."
I stood there wishing it was me who had bought the shoes and socks for the man when they called my name to come to the set.
As I got to the studio, they were just concluding an interview with a social worker who specialized in benevolence for eastern Ontario. The social worker relayed a story about Mother Teresa, who when asked once how she had accomplished such great things in her life responded, "None of us can do anything great
on our own, but we can all do a small thing with great love."
When I went home that day, I looked for the man on the street. He was gone,
but I knew it wouldn't be long before someone took his place.

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(From "Chicken Soup for the Country Soul")
Reprinted by permission of Michael Peterson. (c)1998 Michael Peterson.
(c)2008 Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Distributed by King Features Syndicate