A Gingham Dress — CORRECTED

Sawadee Khrap

Thanks Jerry for this info –

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit,  stepped off the train in Boston , and walked timidly without an appointment into the  Harvard University President’s outer office.  The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard & probably didn’t even deserve to be in Cambridge.   We’d like to see the president,” the man said softly.  “He’ll be busy all day,” the secretary snapped.  “We’ll wait,” the lady replied.

For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away.  They didn’t, and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted.   “Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they’ll leave,” she said to him!

He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn’t have the time to spend with them, and he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office.  The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple.   The lady told him, “We had a son who attended Harvard for one year.  He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally  killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus.”   The president wasn’t touched. He was shocked.

“Madam,” he said, gruffly, “we can’t put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.”   “Oh, no,” the lady explained quickly. “We don’t want to erect a statue.  We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard.”  The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit,  then exclaimed, “A building!  Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs?   We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard.”  For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. Maybe he could get  rid of them now.

The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, “Is that all it costs to start a   university?    Why don’t we just start our own?”  Her husband nodded. The president’s face wilted in confusion and bewilderment.       Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, traveling to Palo Alto,California  where they established the university that bears their name.  Stanford University, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.
You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them.   A TRUE STORY by Malcolm Forbes


Post info     Thanks Guy for the actual info —    https://library.stanford.edu/spc/faq#snubbed

4 thoughts on “A Gingham Dress — CORRECTED”

  1. Hi, Frank,
    Very good one today. Thank you.
    A window salesman told me this.
    He was trying to sell windows in poor, rural North Carolina in 1978.
    He knocked on an old beat up house trailer. A hick couple came to the door.
    He said to himself, “oh, boy, no sale.” That couple bought $22,000.00 in windows for the trailer, the shed, and their barn.
    Can’t tell a book by its cover.

  2. Nice story, but …. Leyland Stanford Junior died at the age of 15 of typhoid. He had not spent a year at Harvard and his death was not an accident. The parents were not snubbed by the president of Harvard.

    Read https://library.stanford.edu/spc/faq#snubbed for the correct facts

    Got it corrected – Thanks Guy — as always and info should be checked before posting – I didn’t do this but to my readers I always owe a thanks for helping me out in this — again thanks Guy for your support.

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