It was very cold one Wednesday morning in December. An old man in rags was sitting idle outside a town school.
The sky was overcast, as if just minutes from snowing.
The old man was frail, his hands trembling, his wrinkled cheeks red.
Young students, in neat and warm school uniforms, were coming in, all cheerful. A lot of them didn’t notice the old man.
But many found his looks funny and laughed at him.
The old man stood there quietly, watching intently the kids who laughed at him.
A little boy came to stand beside him. Not in a uniform, the boy was holding a piece of bread in his hand, and he offered half of it to the old man.
“You seem hungry,” he said, as he handed the bread to the old man.
“Thank you. I am,” replied the old man.
“Are you not going inside? Do you not study here?”
“No. I wish I could study here or in any school. My parents cannot afford to send me to school, but they teach me good manners and ways of life.”
The old man ate the piece of bread and left.
The next morning, an expensive car came to wait outside the school. A rich inside was looking at the pavement where the boy and the old man had stood earlier.
There was no sign of the old man, but after a while, the boy came to stand right where he had been the morning before.
The rich man came out of the car and went to the boy.
“Hello,” he greeted the boy. “Did you not recognise me?”
The boy had no idea who the man was.
“I am the old man you were kind to yesterday,” said the rich man.
“I was here in rags yesterday because I wanted to see if anyone would be kind to an old, funny-looking man. And of the many people who saw me here, you were with the right manners. Now, I want to help you by helping you study in this school.”
The boy was happy to see his dream come true. He took the rich man to his parents, who had taught him all the good manners.
Thus began his journey at school.