Early in the eighteen hundreds an old man stood along a riverbank. It was the middle of a dark, Winterís night in Virginia and the ice cold water was raging. There were no bridges or ferries across the river. The only way to cross safely was on horseback, so the old man waited patiently until he saw four riders approaching. As the first three riders rode up and crossed the river, however, the old man said nothing. It was only when the last rider came to the riverbank that he asked for a ride across. The rider kindly agreed and offered the old man a hand up on his mount. After making it to the other side of the rushing river he helped the old man down and questioned him on why he hadnít asked any of the previous riders for help.
The old man said, "I looked into the eyes of each man as they rode past and saw that their hearts were cold. I knew that they wouldnít help an old man. Your eyes were kind and I knew that you would help me. Thank you for the ride." The fourth rider, President Thomas Jefferson smiled at the man and then rode on towards his home.
After reading that story I prayed to God. I asked Him to help me to nurture the goodness in my own heart. I asked Him to help me to develop a caring soul and a giving spirit. I asked Him to fill me with His love so that anyone who looks into my eyes will find them kind. I am sure too that when Thomas Jefferson entered into the light of Heaven the angels were cheering. They were cheering not because he had been President of the United States. They were cheering instead for every ride he gave, kindness he shared, and good thing he did in his life here.