The business executive was deep in debt and could see no way out. Creditors were closing in on him. Suppliers were demanding payment. He sat on the park bench, head in hands, wondering if anything could save his company from bankruptcy. Suddenly, an old man appeared before him.
“I can see that something is troubling you,” he said. After listening to the executive’s woes, the old man said, “I believe I can help you.”
He asked the executive his name, wrote out a check, and pushed it into his hand, saying, “Take this money. Meet me here exactly one year from today, and you can pay me back at that time.” Then he turned and disappeared as quickly as he had come.
The executive looked down and saw in his hand a check for $500,000 signed by John D. Rockefeller, then one of the richest men in the world.
“I can erase my money worries in an instant!” the executive realized. But, instead, he decided to put the uncashed check in his safe. Just knowing it was there might give him the strength to work out a way to save his business, he thought.
With renewed optimism, he negotiated better deals and extended terms of payment. He closed several big sales. Within a few months, he was out of debt and making money once again.
Exactly one year later, he returned to the park with the uncashed check. At the agreed upon time, the old man appeared. But just as the executive was about to hand back the check and share his success story, a nurse came running up and grabbed the old man.
“I’m so glad I caught him!” she cried. “I hope he hasn’t been bothering you. He’s always escaping from the rest home and telling people he’s John D. Rockefeller.”
And she led the old man away by the arm.