View Full Version : Society is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate

12th Dec 2007, 18:33
A story I received today.

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: 'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?'

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. 'I believe, that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.'

Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.'

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. His Father watched with a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first! Run to first!' Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second!' Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball ... The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the way Shay'

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third! Shay, run to third!'

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!' Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.

'That day', said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world'.

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate amongst them

12th Dec 2007, 18:45

Al Fakhem
13th Dec 2007, 05:13
Nice story. I hope this particular school teaches its kids the difference between "it's" and "its".

bar fly
13th Dec 2007, 09:48
Nice story. Made me think about New Orleans for some reason.

Al Fakhem, don't be a D1ck.

Al Fakhem
13th Dec 2007, 11:19
Anything objectionable about correct grammar, bar fly? Isn't this what schools are supposed to do?

13th Dec 2007, 11:25
A nice, warm, cuddly story.
Trotted out on t'interweb for the last 6 years or so?

True? Who knows. Probably not. I am a cynical fcuker though.
Reminds me of a lot of 'Friends' episodes where everyone looks adoringly at each other in silence when something wonderful has been uttered. :yuk:

Can we turn it into American bashing? Hot dang! That GWB fella, etc, ...:ok:

13th Dec 2007, 11:30
It isn't grammar it is spelling!

13th Dec 2007, 12:38
Trotted out on t'interweb for the last 6 years or so?
Yes, I received it myself about that long ago. Does anyone know if it's true?

13th Dec 2007, 12:58
Yes, I received it myself about that long ago. Does anyone know if it's true?


Surprisingly not then.

13th Dec 2007, 14:46
Well, I wasn't going to say anything at the risk of being labelled a curmudgeonly old prick, and no doubt the usual Snopes-haters will come out in force, but really..... did anybody really believe it as they read it?

Like a tear-jerking movie, it stirred my emotions, which it was clearly meant to do. But unlike the best tear-jerkers, not at any stage did it remotely masquerade as truth. To anybody with an idea of the mindset of teenagers, the idea of two whole teams of adolescent kids subverting their own desires for a grand final win to help a disabled kid attain his life's dream is so preposterous as to make Harry Potter look realistic.

Nice try, but no cigar. Snopes once again is spot on in not only exposing it as a fraud but pointing to the underlying issues.

13th Dec 2007, 14:49
You curmudgeonly old prick.

13th Dec 2007, 14:50
Why thank you, kind sir!

13th Dec 2007, 15:53
How unfortunate it doesn't reflect real life.

There was a young lad lived down our way, had massive physical problems, epilepsy, deformed head, bent body and walked with a limp. He was actually quite a nice guy when ya' got talking to him.

He got a job on our local market, but only lasted a few weeks as he was a bit sick of the wider public taking the p*ss, culminating in a load of the local lads telling him that, "scum like him shouldn't be on the fecking earth,"

It really upset him, (he got over it though).

Don't know what the answer is, I used to be one of them local lads me'self.

13th Dec 2007, 23:54
Society is judged... Now that we have globalisation, will society "be judged" on a worldwide-basis too...?

EGCC4284's example is perhaps examplary because it simply requires people to contribute stuff most people have in abundunce and can express in human terms of empathy etc. without much to do with any real-world costs that can be measured monetarily...

If we are truly a global society today, then I don't see many people ascending to heaven in the near future. I guess that someone who lives in an affluent part of somewhere in the UK, say, Chichester, West Sussex, might be able to construe events in order to assume that they'll get there anyway.

But what with all the (especially African) orphans living with the results of just the AIDS epidemic, I wouldn't feel too confident about ascending to those pearly gates (especially if I was reasonably affluent) or lived in God's own country...

What is (or should be free) is one thing. The decision on whether or not to spend 500 more on an even bigger LCD or plasma TV is an entirely personal decision between your God and your interior designer. Hmmmm... :(

14th Dec 2007, 00:56
You curmudgeonly old prick.

Excuse me, he is not a "curmudgeonly old prick"! :suspect:

He is a curmudgeonly 'middle aged prick', I should know, because I am a curmudgeonly old prick. :p


16th Dec 2007, 10:46
It is the Grammar Police!

Nice story if a bit soppy plus not being, as it were, literally true.

"It's" for "its" is a grammar mistake, not spelling. Both words are spelled correctly; it is just that the contraction of "it is" is mistakenly used for the possessive. That apostrophe has some weird appeal to people posting.

To say that someone is a curmudgeonly old pr1ck is being redundant, I think. We pricks are ipso facto curmudgeonly, young, middle-aged and old.

16th Dec 2007, 11:36
There was a kid at school who had a dodgy arm, it stayed contracted/bent up. She copped a fair bit of teasing but she didn't do any harm to any one and eventually she was accepted into the normal playground activities. She used to get some protection from the larger kids as they happily beat up any new kid that dared give her a hard time.

My dear old Nan used to live at Clovelly. One of her neighbours was a kid 'bout my age. He was a "spastic" and couldn't walk or talk very clearly. However, he was a nice enough kid and we used to play together. While his speech was occassionally hard to understand, his brain was mega sharp.

I knew him as Chris, the rest of Australia knows him as "Steady Eddy" :ok:

16th Dec 2007, 12:40
Nice story! That really cheered my day up.

Al Fakhem, you are indeed a dick! This is the second time on JB today that someone writes something worth reading and tossers out there with nothing better to do, pick up on peoples spelling and or grammar. Will all you oxygen thieves that insist on doing this please sod off to a forum for those obsessed with spelling and grammar in the english language and let the rest of us get on with communicating quite adequately with each other!

16th Dec 2007, 12:51
I think it's a fable, meant to illustrate the point that selflessness and goodwill are there for the taking.

16th Dec 2007, 13:31
Well of course it's a fable. But it was presented as a true story, and so it gets passed around the internet as such and lots of people choose to believe it. Many of us curmudgeonly pricks of whatever vintage sigh and wish that it were so, yet having been worn down by the horrible facts of life over the years we shudder at the schmaltz.

Hence my original point about tear-jerkers; only the very best of them can make you believe for a while they could be true.

I agree with the point about the grammar police, and I'm a bit concerned that I may have been the one tarred with that. There are many other valid reasons I deserve to be called a curmudgeonly prick, but at least in this case it's not one of them.

Con-Pilot, of course you are a curmudgeonly old prick, but I fear that much as I hate to accept it, and I am not accepting it with any grace at all, a six year age difference does not constitute the difference between galloping senility and being in the prime of life. I therefore propose that we are both re-classified to curmudgeonly middle-aged pricks. I have seconded the motion and have taken a vote in your absence, which was passed unanimously. Welcome back to middle-age!

16th Dec 2007, 13:40
yet having been worn down by the horrible facts of life over the years

That's very sad.

16th Dec 2007, 20:39
Binoculars To anybody with an idea of the mindset of teenagers, the idea of two whole teams of adolescent kids subverting their own desires for a grand final win to help a disabled kid attain his life's dream is so preposterous as to make Harry Potter look realistic.

Binoculars Well of course it's a fable. But it was presented as a true story, and so it gets passed around the internet as such and lots of people choose to believe it. Many of us curmudgeonly pricks of whatever vintage sigh and wish that it were so, yet having been worn down by the horrible facts of life over the years we shudder at the schmaltz.

Yes, the story is a fable, and I'm an old prick. Even curmudgeony.

But I'll say that the addition of a very handicapped member to the family and over the ensuing 20+ years being fairly involved with his education, therapy, activities, Special Olympics, and daily life when I'm around, my opinion of our society in general towards the less fortunate leaves me incredibly optimistic. Far more than I would have guessed if I hadn't been exposed in that manner.

Putting aside those who dedicate their lives professionaly or on a regular volunteer basis making those with handicaps live a happier, more secure and comfortable life, or the ever-inclusive laws that mandate equal education etc., what amazes me sometimes are the spontaneous acts of kindness from complete strangers they can generate. That's the core value expressed in the fable.

The question is not whether it happened, but rather, why do others (represented as the baseball players) do what they did? Because they do indeed do it.

Kids, teenagers and young adults included. I've walked with these handicapped kids through middle-and-high school halls and nowadays sometimes it's almost like they're the most popular clique. Girls and guys from the sports crowd to geeks to gangstas call their names out in hello and give them high-fives etc. They get included at least in attenance to the mainstream music classes and physical education (to their ability).

These are purposeful attempts to include the less-fortunate at least on the social level, and it's manifested itself in there being different, much-improved environment for them than it was when i was a teenager. And that improvement runs both ways. Those teens accepting them will most likely turn into accepting adults.

The amount of adults and incidents of them extending some kind of unlooked-for generosity, both large and small, is far too many to relate here. Many of them are truly fable-worthy.

Could a situation like the one in the story happen? Believe me, if you spent a few years hanging around someone like the kid in the story and walked them through their daily lives associating and mingling with people..seeing life more through their eyes... you'll come away believing that it certainly could.

Shmaltzy? So be it.

On pretty much everything else though, I'm a cynical bastard:ok:

16th Dec 2007, 23:06
A young woman was about to finish her first year of
college. Like so many others her age, she considered
herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and among other
liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to
support more government programs; in
other words, redistribution of wealth.

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather
staunch Republican, a feeling she openly expressed.
Based on the lectures that she had participated in,
and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt
that her father had for years harbored an evil,
selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

One day, she was challenging her father on his
opposition to higher taxes on the rich, and the need
for more government programs. The self-professed
objectivity proclaimed by her professor had to be the
truth, and she indicated so to her father.

He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she
had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to
maintain, insisting that she was taking a very
difficult course load and was constantly studying,
which left her no time to go out and party like other
people she knew. She didn't even have time for a
boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends
either because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened, then asked, 'How is your friend
Audrey doing?'

She replied, 'Audrey is barely getting by. All she
takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she
barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus;
college for her is a blast. She's always invited to
all the parties, and lots of times she doesn't even
show up for classes because she's too hung over.'

Her father asked her, 'Why don't you go to the Dean's
office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your GPA and
give it to your friend Audrey, who only has a 2.0?
That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA, and certainly
that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA.'

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's
suggestion, angrily fired back, 'That's a crazy idea!
How would that be fair? I've worked really hard for my
grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard
work. And she's done next to nothing toward her
degree. She played while I worked my tail off!'

The father slowly smiled and said gently, 'Welcome to
the Republican Party.'

Note for those not accustomed to US grading: 4.0 is perfect score, 2.0 (in today's schools) is barely passing.

19th Dec 2007, 18:16
We were running a darts competition once, when I was lumbered with a handicapped team-mate. Only 3.5 feet tall and spastic in her movements, we bent the rules to allow her to shoot from half-distance.

The final match was the two of us against her father and her older brother. It was as if I gave up half our goes; darts were going in all directions except into the board!

I still managed to get us to two games to nil, best of three, when it came down to our needing a double 17 to win with my spaz on the stool stepping up to the plate or whatever you call that in Darts. "Toeing the mark," thank you.

Dart One went high and left as the tension built. Dart Two we never did find. Dart Three scored double 17.

Well, I suppose my team-mate has advanced in years beyond eight so that she is no longer short and spastic but, yes, it did teach me to be, if only a little bit, kind. There is more to sport than just winning, perhaps.

Gingerbread Man
19th Dec 2007, 18:29
He got a job on our local market, but only lasted a few weeks as he was a bit sick of the wider public taking the p*ss, culminating in a load of the local lads telling him that, "scum like him shouldn't be on the fecking earth,"

But precious buttercups like those chaps should roam free :rolleyes:

20th Dec 2007, 02:11
The problem with playing the grammar policeman, Basil, is the possibility of making a mistake in your own post. Perhaps you would like to correct your own grammar before somebody else does it for you? :=

20th Dec 2007, 09:59
Agree entirely, Basil; I was merely pointing out that criticising somebody's grammar tends to make one look a little foolish, if in the same post one were to have, just hypothetically you understand, a plural object relating to a singular subject.

Wouldn't you agree? ;)

20th Dec 2007, 10:34
The PPRUNE society is generally speaking a fairly civilised one, despite occasional flareups. I think we can safely say it won't be held against you! :ok:

20th Dec 2007, 10:53
Funny how that mix up in plural and singular subject/object is a mistake easily made in most western languages. ;)
For all you cynics on this thread, yes the story is more a tale of hope than Big Brother Reality, but there's many good teenagers about.
Who do a lot of good things.

A young person of my aquaintance works in her spare time in a home for severly mentally and physically handicapped teenagers. This young person is as irritating a teenager as they come. Selfish, loud, respectless yadayadayda
For Xmas she has asked can she bring home one of her charges, whose family is away for the holidays. Boy in a HUGE wheelchair, spastic, drools, fits, grunts and yells, apparently unaware of what goes on around him. It's a huge pain in the @ss, as the house is full of people, kids, Xmas tree, presents and major happenings.
But she says Lars deserves a nice Xmas too.

So despite my protests, we're getting an extra guest for Xmas dinner this year. Thanks to my teenager who shamed me into it. :O