The Preacher Who Played Blind Man

The Preacher Who Played Blind Man

One day in London a man stopped to talk on the street corner with a minister, the famous Dr. Dick Sheppard, who was pastor of the historic church with the tall tower in Trafalgar Square.

"Everyone is selfish and mean," complained the cynical citizen of London.

"Oh, but you are wrong; on the contrary, everyone is kind, very kind," answered the famous young preacher.

"You are twice wrong," retorted the man. "I know that everyone is selfish and mean, just like an old pig. It’s every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost."

The young minister coughed with indignation. "I just know you're dead wrong," he said. "People are kind. But since you won't believe it, I shall prove it to you, and you shall eat your words." And with that, they both walked off in different directions.

Now the famous minister did a very strange thing. He put on an old, shabby coat, some dirty old shoes, took a cane, and put on a pair of dark, smoked glasses. With the dark glasses covering his eyes as if he were blind, he walked down the street to the Strand in London. No one could recognize him in this disguise.

When he came to the street corner, the people stopped their cars to let him get across safely. Sometimes a Boy Scout took his arm and helped him across the street; sometimes a man helped him. When he wanted to take a bus, the conductor got down off the seat and took his arm to help him up the steps into the bus. Some people even tried to put money into his hands.

"It was amazing," the minister told the boys and girls of his congregation afterwards, "how people made way for me everywhere and just surrounded me on all sides with kindness. I proved that people are kind by playing the part of a blind man."

It was a few days before Christmas when the minister met the man again on the street—the grouchy man who said that "everyone is selfish and mean like an old pig." Dr. Sheppard told the man what had happened.

Then he said, "Come with me into my study," and he led the man into his church.

Dr. Sheppard showed the man his desk stacked high with letters containing money sent by people all over the country who wanted to brighten the lives of the poor of London at Christmas. He led the man into another room in his church and showed him great baskets loaded with fruits, cakes, nuts, chickens, English plum pudding, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, candies, and many luscious things to eat given by people who wanted to be kind to the poor children. Then he led him through another door and showed him a big room crowded with toys, teddy bears, dolls, marbles, trains, toy fire engines, jackknives, balls, drums, horns, sleds, and mittens given by people who wanted to be kind to the poor at Christmas.

"Now," said the minister, looking squarely into the face of the man, "do you still say that everyone is mean and selfish just like an old pig?"

And true to his promise the minister made the man eat his words.

I think the good minister should have given this man his pair of dark, smoked glasses and should have said to him, "Here, you take these dark glasses and wear them, for if you can't see any kindness in people, not even at Christmastime, then you are a real blind man and you ought to wear a blind man's glasses."

| More