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"Beware that you don't look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father" Matthew 18:10 NLT
Some of us give of ourselves to others in terms of personal time, talent, knowledge or labor. Others will have the right kind of heart and patience to lift the spirit of another by simply listening to them voice of their personal problems or trials.
A few are appreciative of what the Lord has given them and they will share their gift when the opportunity presents itself. The story that follows is about one such person who helped a child who was later identified as being the son of the most evil criminal in American history:
When Johnny Weissmuller was a young and sickly child in eastern Europe, his parents were advised by a doctor to have him begin intensively exercising in a swimming pool in hopes to further develop his muscles. This therapy worked and swimming became as easy for him as walking.
As he grew up and the family moved to the U.S., this once sickly boy developed into a champion class swimmer and he would later compete in the 1924 Olympics, winning five gold medals in swimming. At six feet and three inches tall and weighing 200 pounds, it was always easy for this Olympic Medalist to find jobs as either a lifeguard or a swimming instructor.*
While traveling the country endorsing BVD swimwear at either the Biltmore Hotel in Miami or at a hotel in Chicago [the record is not clear], he would take the time each day at his hotel to swim for his own enjoyment. While doing so one day, Johnny noticed a young deaf lad who had come to the pool and was wading, but not swimming.
Probably remembering his own childhood condition and of how swimming had improved his own outlook on life, he offered to teach "Sonny" how to swim. Under the direct supervision of two well dressed gentlemen who always accompanied Sonny everywhere, Johnny taught the young man how to swin and soon had him plying the deep water and smiling. **
Before Weissmuller left Chicago for other endorsement engagements, a gentleman found Johnny and handed him a gift wrapped package. Inside was a fine gold watch with a note which said: "Thanks for taking care of my son. Al Capone".
That simple act of kindness in teaching a deaf child how to swim had turned the heart of America's Public Enemy #1 for a moment into one of gratitude and appreciation. Further, that act of kindnews given to his son must have been a high point in the life of Alphonse Capone as well, because he would soon be going to prison and his life truly went straight down hill from there.**
As we see, simple acts of kindness can have a momentary positive effect upon even the hardest of hearts. Have you ever made a difference in the lives of those you have come up along side of and have stopped to offer them an act of your kindness, and did you noticed a difference in them when you did?
I bet you have and that it would be an even better bet that you will continue to do so in the future. Like Johnny did for Sonny and like many a kind person has done for others, that is who you are, and acts of kindness are just one of the many good things you do.
Post Script - Even in death, Johnny brought a smile to the faces of people in the world's many places:
When Weissmuller died in January, 1984 in Acapulco, Mexico, the Russian Government had his Tarzan yell broadcast in Moscow's Red Square for twenty-four hours straight as a memorial to one of their favorite actors from the silver screen.**
*Five Olympic Gold Medals, 67 world and 52 national titles, and holder of every freestyle record from 100 yards to the half-mile.
**Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery - Johnny Weissmuller
*** Alphonse Capone's net worth was $1.3 Billion in 1929-30
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