Dan Clark had an unique encounter with his father when he was a youngster that he would never forget.
Dan and his father traveled to the circus, and while waiting in line, they overheard a conversation between the ticket desk and the family in front of them, according to a story he told Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Dan stated, “When I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to get circus tickets.” “Finally, between us and the ticket office, there was only one other family. This particular family left a lasting effect on me. There were eight children, all of them were most likely under the age of twelve. You could tell they didn’t have a lot of money by the way they dressed, but their clothing were nice and clean.”
For the first time, the eight youngsters were all ecstatic to watch the circus.
“The kids were all well-behaved, standing in a two-by-two formation behind their parents, holding hands. They were giddy with excitement as they talked about the clowns, animals, and other performances they’d be witnessing that night. You could tell they’d never gone to the circus by their excitement. It would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The eight kids were all giddy with excitement to visit the circus for the first time. “The father and mother were in the front of the group, looking as proud as they could. ‘You’re my knight in shining armor,’ the mother said, grasping her husband’s hand and looking up at him. He was beaming and pleased to see his family happy.
The ticket woman inquired as to how many tickets the man need. ‘I’d want to get eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets so that I may take my family to the circus,” he enthusiastically said.
A wave of grief washed over the guy and his wife as the woman behind the desk informed the father the total price of the tickets.
“The price was given by the ticket woman. The man’s wife let go of his hand, her head hung down, and the man’s mouth quivered. “How much did you say?” he questioned as he moved in closer. The ticket woman repeated the price once more. The man lacked sufficient funds. How was he going to tell his eight children that he couldn’t afford to take them to the circus?”
Dan’s father gently reached into his pocket as he saw what was going on.
“When my father realized what was going on, he went into his pocket and brought out a $20 bill, which he immediately placed on the ground. (We were not affluent in the traditional sense!) “Excuse me, sir, this dropped out of your pocket,” my father replied as he stooped down and scooped up the $20 note from the man’s pocket. The man was aware of the situation. He wasn’t begging for money, but he was grateful for the assistance in a difficult, painful, and humiliating situation.”
“With his lip trembling and a tear pouring down his face, he stared right into my father’s eyes, clasped both of his hands in his, clutched hard onto the $20 note, and said, “Thank you, thank you, sir.” This means a great deal to me and my family.”
Dan and his father then returned home, having given the family the money they needed to purchase their own tickets.
“My father and I returned to our car and drove back to our house. We planned to use the $20 my father provided us to purchase our own tickets. We didn’t get to watch the circus that night, but we both felt a thrill that was far greater than anything the circus could have given us. That day, I realized the importance of giving. The provider outweighs the recipient. Learn to Give if you want to be big, bigger than life. Love has nothing to do with what you anticipate to receive and everything to do with what you hope to give. The significance of giving and benefiting others cannot be overstated since giving brings delight. Learn to make others happy by performing acts of kindness.”
Dan didn’t get to visit the circus, but his father gave him a lesson in compassion that he would remember for the rest of his life. When compassion recognizes a need, it transforms into a willing heart to assist others. Dan’s father was able to aid a poor family by foregoing a temporary night of excitement, and his own son felt that the thrill of giving much outweighed going to the circus.