I heard a story once about a poor blind man who lived next to a mountain, famous for its hiking trails and amazing views. At the top of the mountain were a wide field and the ruins of an old castle. During the busy months of the year families would make the long, difficult trek up the mountain. Children would climb all over the ruins while their parents soaked in the view.
Every day the blind man made his way to the base of the mountain with a cooler full of bottled water and sold it to the hikers passing by. He was a man who had made some bad choices, and life hadn’t given him many good turns, but he liked to think of himself as a pretty decent person, just trying to make a buck. He was trying to save enough for a cart and stand to make his little shop a more permanent fixture.
One hot summer day the trials were busier than ever, when the blind man began to hear the voice of a young boy calling out to the hikers, “Excuse me, sir! Will you please take me with you? Excuse me, would you please help me to the top?” He was curious, and the boy’s persistence after twenty minutes of constant rejection tugged at his heart.
Finally, he called the boy over. It took a bit longer than he expected for the boy to come close. “I admire your determination, kid. Why do you need someone to take you up the mountain?”
The boy hesitated at first stumbling over his words, but then it came out in a rush. He was crippled in an accident when he was just two, and every year since, on his birthday, his dad had brought him to the mountain and carried him up to look at the amazing view. Today was his tenth birthday, but his dad was…away. The trail was too steep and narrow for his chair. “I just wanted to see the view from the mountain on my birthday, just one more time!” he finished.
Well, I’m sure you can see where this story is going… the blind man had to make a choice. The climb would be treacherous with a boy on his back. He’d have to trust the boy to steer him the right way. And he’d miss out on a big day of sales. Today might just give him the cash he needed for the cart he wanted! Plus, he thought to himself, I couldn’t even enjoy the view at the top. I don’t owe this boy anything!
But, in his heart, the blind man knew what was right. Sure, it would be hard, it would take some serious self-sacrifice, but he knew he could take the boy up the mountain.
“Well boy, if I walk for both of us, you’ll have to see for both of us.”
The boy thanked him over and over, the excitement and joy in his voice contagious enough to put a smile on the poor man’s face. It made him feel stronger, noble. For a day, and forever in the memory of that child, one poor blind man was a hero.