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It was second grade. 1960. Her name was Barbara. She came to school every day in hand-me-downs, ill-fitting, worn out, out-of-style clothing. Everybody knew that she was as poor as you can get.

On that day, our class went on a walking field trip to the public library only a few blocks away. A librarian welcomed us and told us about some of the many resources available at the library. And then we were allowed to go through all the shelves and find a book to take out. Pretty much all children already had library cards/accounts at the local branch. There was a long line at checkout time. When I got up, the clerk said to me, "Eliot, you had a late book last time. The fine is two cents. You will not be able to check out another book until this is taken care of." I did not have two cents with me. Even a few pennies was something that I would never have with me. I turned to all of my classmates in line. "I need two cents in order to check out this book. Can somebody let me borrow that?" I saw vague stares and sudden silence from all my classmates in line. In 1960, two cents can buy some great candy after school. Suddenly, I heard a little voice. Barbara stepped out of the line and walked towards me. "I have two cents for you." It was at that moment, I learned a great deal about people. And I always remembered it as a valuable lesson.

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