Kindness Rewarded


Dietrich Fischer – TRANSCEND Media Service

Around the year 1900, an elderly couple from New York entered a hotel in Philadelphia late at night during a heavy storm, asking if they could get a room. The young clerk at the desk explained that there were currently three conventions in town, and all the rooms had been booked weeks in advance.

“But I cannot send a nice couple like you out into the rain again past midnight,” the clerk added. “Why don’t you stay in my room, if you don’t mind, and don’t worry about me, I can stay with a friend.”

They were very grateful and the husband said,

 “We need people like you who are imaginative and helpful. You should be the manager of this hotel. One day, I will build a hotel for you and make you its manager.

The young man thought this was a good joke and laughed heartily. Two years later, he received a letter from that man, inviting him to come to New York on a given train. When he arrived, the couple met him and walked with him to the corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. The old man pointed to a great new building of red stone and said,

“This is the hotel I have just built and I want to make you its manager.”

The older man was William Waldorf Astor, and the hotel was the original Waldorf‑Astoria. The young clerk who became its first manager was George C. Boldt. He had never foreseen the turn of events that would lead him to become the manager of one of the world’s most famous hotels.


Dietrich Fischer (1941-2015) from Münsingen, Switzerland, got a Licentiate in Mathematics from the University of Bern 1968 and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University 1976. Fischer was a MacArthur Fellow in International Peace and Security at Princeton University 1986-88, has taught mathematics, computer science, economics and peace studies at various universities, and been a consultant to the United Nations. He was co-founder, with Johan Galtung, of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment in 1993.

Excerpted from Dietrich Fischer’s Stories to Inspire You – TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.




This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 22 Mar 2021.

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