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A young, single attorney worked for a generous boss who gave all his employees a turkey each year at Thanksgiving. One year before the birds were handed out, some of his co-workers replaced his real turkey with one made of papier-mâché. To make the bogus bird look and feel genuine, they wrapped it in brown paper, weighted it with lead, and added a real turkey neck and tail. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the attorney went to the company boardroom, picked up his assigned turkey, and thanked his boss for his job and the bird.
Later, on the bus home, the young man wondered what to do with his prize. As a bachelor, he couldn’t possibly eat it all by himself. Before long, a rather run-down, discouraged-looking man got on the bus and sat next to the attorney. As they talked, the young man learned that the stranger had spent the entire day job-hunting with no luck. The man had a large family, and was wondering what he would do about Thanksgiving the next day.
Suddenly the attorney was struck with an idea: Why not give his turkey to this man! But how? The fellow wasn’t a freeloader and probably wouldn’t accept charity. So the attorney asked, “How much money do you have?” When the man said a couple of dollars, the attorney yelled, “Sold!” and put the turkey in the stranger’s lap. Moved to tears, the stranger later got off the bus and waved good-bye, thrilled that his family would have a turkey for Thanksgiving.
The next Monday, the attorney’s friends were dying to know about the turkey. You can imagine their dismay and the young attorney’s horror when they both learned what each had done. For a week, the attorney and his co-workers rode the bus searching for the stranger they had unintentionally wronged, but they never found him.
How rotten did that attorney feel? But what about the stranger? Can you imagine what he thought when he discovered the turkey was only a glob of paper? For all he knew, that young man had intentionally sold him a fake. Was he right? No! But the circumstantial evidence seemed to indicate that he was, and it would have been hard to convince him otherwise.
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