Free write: A lesson

To cut down on the amount of obscene language she heard in class, Dr Laura decided to fine residents $600 for every occurrence.

Most residents thought she was joking, but when Todd Ruben ran up a 3K$ bill, she forced him to begin paying on it or he wouldn’t get a passing grade.

He complained to his advisors, “she should be paying me for putting up with her.”

Nevertheless he paid the bill.

He even built a rapport with his “least favorite” professor. She was a stickler, but she was a knowledgeable and kind physician.

Several years later he encountered his professor again. Only this time she was his patient.

She had lost her right hand in an accident and no longer could be a surgeon. Her income was limited and Dr. Ruben knew she would have trouble affording treatment.

“No bill today,” he told her.

To his surprise she insisted on paying.

“It’s not necessary,” he said.

She smiled at him. “I intend on keeping my word. Remember that I made you pay your bill. It’s my turn.”

Now Dr. Ruben shook his head.

“Do you remember that night you stayed with a patient after her husband passed.”

Dr. Laura nodded.

“The most powerful lesson you ever taught me wasn’t to do with money, but empathy. Above all you were there for patients.”

He took her left hand. “I should be paying you.”

She had tears in her eyes as she finally agreed to let write off the bill.


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