A pet store owner was tacking a sign above the door that read “Puppies for Sale”. Signs have a way of attracting children. Soon a little boy appeared at the sign, and asked, “How much are you gonna sell those puppies for?” The store owner said, “Anywhere from $30 to $50.” The boy reached into his pocket and pulled out some change. “I have $2.37. Can I look at them?” The store owner smiled and whistled. His dog, Lady, came running down the aisle followed by five little puppies. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the boy fixated on the lagging, limping puppy. He asked, “What’s wrong with that one?” The man explained that the puppy was born with a bad hip socket, and would limp for the rest of his life. The little boy got really excited, and said, “That is the puppy I want to buy!” The man replied “No, you don’t want to buy that little dog. But, if you really want him, I’ll give him to you.”
The little boy put his hands on his hips, looked straight into the man’s eyes, and said, “I don’t want you to give him to me. He is worth every bit as much as the other dogs, and I’ll pay the full price. In fact, I will give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents every month until I have him paid for.” The man countered, “You really don’t want to buy this puppy, son. He’s never going to be able to run, jump and play like the other puppies.” The little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the man and said, “Well, I don’t run so well myself, and that little puppy needs someone who understands.” The man was now biting his bottom lip. Tears welled up in his eyes. He smiled and said, “Son, I hope and pray that all of these puppies have owners like you.” As he got the puppy ready to go, the owner realized that it doesn’t matter who you are, but whether someone appreciates you for who you are; accepting and loving you unconditionally. The little boy proved to him that a real friend is one who walks in – when the rest of the world walks away.