The simple truth is “what goes around, comes around”. Here is an urban legend which a lot of us have probably heard before but the lesson from it is invaluable. Even if service to society is not “selfless” there is a huge WIFM (What’s in it for me) factor here. It directly impacts our happiness
Fleming was a poor Scottish farmer. One day at work in a field he heard a cry for help.
Following the sound, Fleming came to a deep bog, in which a boy was stuck up to his chest, screaming and sinking. Farmer Fleming tied a rope around his own waist and the other end to a tree, and waded into the bog.
After a mighty struggle in which it seemed they would both perish, the exhausted farmer pulled himself and the boy to safety. He took the lad back to the farmhouse, where Mrs Fleming fed him, dried his clothes, and when satisfied he had recovered, sent him on his way home.
The next day a carriage arrived at the Fleming’s humble farmhouse. An well-dressed man stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy whom Fleming had saved. “You saved my son’s life,” said the man to Fleming, “How can I repay you?“
“I don’t want payment,” Fleming replied, “Anyone would have done the same.“
At that moment, Fleming’s own young son appeared at the farmhouse door.
“Is he your son?” the man asked.
“Yes,” said Fleming proudly.
“I have an idea. Let me pay for his education. If he’s like his father, he’ll grow to be a man we’ll both be proud of.“
And so he did. The farmer’s son attended the very best schools, graduated medical college, and later became the world-renowned nobel prize-winning scientist and discoverer of penicillin, Sir Alexander Fleming.
It is said that many years later, the grown man who’d been saved from the bog as a boy, was stricken with pneumonia.
Penicillin saved his life. His name? Sir Winston Churchill.
(This story is based on an urban legend)