There once was a man who fell in a hole. He had not seen the hole as he walked across the street, but there he was, none-the-less. The hole was just deep enough that he could not easily climb out, and the only thing the man had to assist him was a shovel. There were several people passing by, but they seemed to ignore him, and the hole he was standing in.
The man thought for a while about how to get out of this predicament. He looked at the shovel, then at the people who continued by him without a second glance, and a plan began to develop. He would dig his way out of the hole. So he began to dig. One shovel of dirt after another he flung outside the hole.
After a while, he became hot and thirsty and decided to stop digging. Now he noticed a few more people walking past the hole and wondered if anyone would stop to give him a drink of water. No one did. They may have if the man had asked, they may have even helped him out of the hole, but he didn’t ask he just stood in the hole watching the people walk by.
The man became angry. “How could all these people walk by him, couldn’t they see he needed help?” He was so angry he just picked up his shovel and started digging again. He dug deeper and deeper until he realized that his head was just peaking out over the top of the hole. He had mixed emotions at this discovery, glad that he had made such progress, and sad that he could barely see the people walking by.
He didn’t need it or their help, and he told them so in so-many-words!
“What do I care if I see the people,” he thought. “They haven’t noticed me, or the situation I am in. Not one person has stopped to ask if they can help, or even offer me a sip of water. Humph” He sighed, and crossed his arms bitterly.
He continued to dig; deeper and deeper. Now he couldn’t see out of the top of the hole. He couldn’t see all the people passing by, and that suited him just fine. It was dark in the hole and getting damp and cold, but worse than anything, his thirst was growing.
He needed something to drink; he knew that for sure, so he hollered from the bottom of the hole in hopes of getting someone’s attention. No one stopped; no one peeked down into the hole. The man became resentful; he shook his fist, and screamed curses at anyone who might be passing by. Still, no one stopped to help him; so he continued to dig, anger and frustration building with each shovelful of dirt.
Suddenly, he heard a noise overhead. A crowd had gathered around the hole. They were talking and pointing at him. Someone lowered a bottle of water to the man, tied to the end of a rope, which he grabbed and untied quickly. He twisted the top off of the bottle and gulped down the cool liquid. Next, a ladder was lowered down at the end of the rope, and someone above yelled down to the man.
“Climb up as far as you can on the ladder, and we’ll help you the rest of the way out.”
Resentment rose in the man like lava boiling to the top of a volcano. Where were these people when he first fell into the hole? Why didn’t they help him when he hollered for help? Well they could just keep their ladder; he didn’t need it or their help, and he told them in so-many-words!
The ladder was pulled up, and the confused group of people, reluctantly, left the man in the hole.
“I’ll show them.”
Once again, the man began to dig; determined to dig all the way to the other side of the world.
“I’ll show them.” He thought, “I’ll make sure they are sorry when I show up again.”
Suddenly, there was a rumbling above the man’s head. He looked up to see dirt and debris falling down on him. His arms automatically covered his head, but it was too late. No one heard his screams, no one was there to try to dig him out.
The next day, a crew of city workers arrived at the hole. They took shovels and filled it in with sand and dirt until it was smooth and level. Hot asphalt was poured over the spot, and a powerful roller drove back, and forth, over the site until it was flat and even.
By evening, traffic was driving over the spot, and people walked by without a second thought of the man who had found himself in the hole. The man who refused the help offered to him because he became angry, bitter and resentful at the world that passed him by.