5 Inspirational Stories that Convey Important Life Lessons
“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” –Robert McKee
Story #1 – The Janitor
During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:
“What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired, and in her 50s, but how would I know her name?
I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.
“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”
I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.
Life Lesson: Be humble and amiable. Always extend your friendship to others and remember their names.
Story #2 – Pickup in the Rain
One night, at 11:30 P.M., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.
A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him.
Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a
giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached, it read:
“Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away… thank you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.” Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.
Life Lesson: Extend a helping hand without expecting a return.
Story #3 – The Plain Ice Cream
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.
“How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked.
“Fifty cents,” replied the waitress.
The little boy pulled is hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.
“Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired.
By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.
“Thirty-five cents,” she brusquely replied.
The little boy again counted his coins.
“I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said.
The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.
When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies.
You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.
Life Lesson: Refrain from jumping to conclusion too early.
Story #4 – The Boulder
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the boulder.
Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did
anything about getting the stone out of the way.
Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.
After picking up his load of vegetables, the peasant noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note
from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.
Life Lesson: Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.
Story #5 – The Blind Boy
A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: ‘I am blind, please help.’ There were only a few coins in the hat.
A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.
Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy.
That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, ‘Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?’
The man said, ‘I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.’
What he had written was: ‘Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it.’
Life Lesson: Reframe your perspective. Think differently. Make a difference.