One day an advertising executive found a boy seated on the steps of his high-rise office building. He had left his penthouse office suite to grab lunch with a Fortune 100 client. Although the busy advertising executive saw countless homeless and derelict people on the streets of his city, for some reason the boy stood out to him. The young boy had a sign that held a simple message on it.
And when the man stopped to read it, he felt compassion for the boy, because the sign simply read: “I am blind, please help.”
The man leaned forward and looked into the hat the blind boy had out before him. Only a few coins were there. The man decided to take some coins out of his own pocket and add them to the small collection. Then the man did something extra. He went above and beyond what the boy expected. Although he charged his clients millions of dollars for his advertising experience, he decided to use his expertise to get the boy a little extra money.
The man reached and snatched the sign out of the boy’s hand.
“Excuse me. Excuse me,” the boy said. “That is my sign. I need my sign.”
“Don’t worry,” the man said. “I am only trying to help.”
The boy did not say anything else. So the man took out a pen and wrote a new message on the back of the sign. He returned the sign to the boy and told him to hold it the other way so the message would face outward. The boy said nothing, so the man left to grab his lunch.
When the man returned from lunch down the block, he was stunned. The boy’s hat was filled with coins. His message had worked.
The man came up to the boy. And before he could speak, the boy asked, “Are you the man who changed my sign?”
The boy had recognized the man’s footsteps. His hearing had been heightened ever since he had gone blind.
“Yes, it was me.”
“What did you write? Why are so many more people giving me their money?”
“Don’t worry, young man,” the advertising executive said. “What I wrote was the truth. You are not unfairly taking anyone’s money.”
The boy was grateful and told the man as much. Then he asked, “What did you write?”
“Today is a beautiful day, and I cannot see it.”
The advertising executive went on to explain to the boy a little bit about his trade. He admitted that both signs told the public the same thing. It was apparent from both signs that the boy was blind. The first sign only focused on the boy and his plight. This made it harder for the boy to connect with the people on the street. But the advertising executive’s sign reminded the people with the money how lucky they were. By reminding them of the world that they could see, he helped them remember to be more generous with those less fortunate.
Because the advertising executive reminded people to be thankful for everything they had, they were willing to part with a few coins for a boy in need.