Saturday, December 12, 2015

Twice Saved

His name was Fleming. Some accounts say that he was a poor Scottish farmer, but it is more likely that he worked as a gardener on the rich English estate. This much we do know. It was a hot summer day in the late 1880's, and Fleming was working in the gardens of the big estate when he heard something. He stopped to listen. It was faint, but it sounded like cries for help. He dropped his tools and ran towards the source of the commotion, which seemed to be coming from a nearby pond. Topping a small hill, Fleming saw the pond below, and the source of the cries for help. Several children from the estate had been swimming in the pond when one of their playmates had wandered out into deep water and was drowning. Without hesitating, Fleming threw himself into the water and rescued the drowning boy.

The next day, a carriage pulled up in front of the little cabin where Fleming lived with his small son. Out of the carriage stepped an elegantly dressed man, obviously of noble birth, and introduced himself as the father of the boy Fleming had saved.

"You saved my son's life," said the nobleman, "and I wish to repay you."

"I cannot except payment for doing my Christian duty," replied Fleming, shrugging off the nobleman's gesture.

Noticing a small boy standing in the doorway of the little cabin, the nobleman asked, "Is that your son?"

"Yes," Fleming replied.

"Then I beg of you," replied the nobleman. "You have done a great kindness to my son. Please allow me to do one to yours. Let me provide for his education," said the nobleman. "If he grows up to be anything like the man that his father is, then you will indeed have someone to be very proud of."

Fleming hesitated for a moment, but finally gave his consent.

The nobleman was as good as his word, and provided the lad with the best education available. The boy studied hard, taking to academia like a born scholar. He eventually wound up at St. Mary's Hospital in London where he studied medicine.

Years later, the nobleman's son… the once drowning little boy, now grown to adulthood, became stricken with pneumonia. The best doctor in the country was called to his side. It seems that this doctor had discovered a new drug to treat pneumonia and other types of infections. The drug was called "Penicillin", and the doctor was Sir Alexander Fleming, the son of the gardener who saved a drowning boy many years earlier.

Now if you think about it, you really have to ask yourself, how many people were saved on that hot summer day in the English country side when a poor Scottish farmer dove into a pond to save a drowning boy? Was it only one English nobleman's son, or was it the countless millions who owe their lives to the healing properties of penicillin?

And what of the nobleman's son? Because he was saved from drowning by the father - and because the son saved him from pneumonia - because the same family twice saved his life - he was also able to save millions. In fact, he was able to save his whole country. For the name of the nobleman who paid for Alexander Fleming's education was Sir Randolph Churchill. His son's name was Winston Churchill.