One Saturday morning, a young man was sitting in a pedestrian zone in front a closed store, asking passersby for money. He was in probably in his early twenties, and his shoes were worn out. His clothes had seen better days, and he sat with hunched shoulders on the ground.
On the ground in front of him was a small bowl. In his hand he held a sign which read: “I am blind, please help.” So far, he had collected only a few small coins. A man approached, wearing a well-fitted blazer made from an elegant black fabric, along with black pants. His white shirt was open at the collar, and his shoes were made of leather. When he reached the beggar, he stopped briefly, put his hand into his pocket, and threw a few coins into the bowl.
The man started to walk away when suddenly, he stopped. As if struck by inspiration, he turned back to the beggar and took the sign into his own hand. After looking at it briefly, he turned it over and wrote something on the free side. Once finished, he handed the sign back to the blind man so that the new words were visible. After saying goodbye, the elegantly dressed gentleman was on his way. Thoughtfully, the beggar listened to the fading sound of the man’s steps.
Shortly afterwards, something changed: The bowl was filling up more quickly than usual. The blind man could not believe it. Never before had people been so generous. He wondered what the other man could have possibly written on his sign. He soon found out when the man greeted him on his way back from wherever he had previously gone. The blind man recognized the other man’s voice, and asked him what he had written. The answer was bewildering: “Only the truth. I said the same thing you did, only with different words. The sign now says, ‘Today is a wonderful day and I cannot see it.'”
The wish behind both sentences was the same, but the message was different. The original sentence said that the man was blind and needed help. Once changed, the sign stated that people could be happy to enjoy that wonderful day using all of their senses. A blue sky, blooming flowers — such things can beautify everyday life. Far too often we do not see the beautiful things because we focus on what troubles us, or on the things we do not have. Every day, there are a thousand reasons to be grateful. You can focus on hardship, or go through the world with a smile.