the story of farmer fleming

bue bar

Published November 13, 2013

The Story of Farmer Fleming

This story comes to me from Jim Miller. He is Vice President of Children’s Hospital of Central California.

It’s an excellent illustration for all of us in the field. You don’t always know or recognize the impact you make on a person’s life. It is well to remember that you are in the business of changing lives and saving lives. In your institution, you make this happen. You are the spark that ignites a blaze.

Here is Jim’s story.

His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy that Farmer Fleming saved. “I want to repay you,” said the nobleman. “You saved my son’s life.” “No, I can’t accept payment for what I did,” the Scottish farmer replied, waving off the offer.

At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door of the family hovel. “Is this your son?” the nobleman asked. “Yes,” the farmer replied proudly.

“I’ll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll no doubt grow up to be a man we can both be proud of.”

And that he did.

Farmer Fleming’s son attended, at the expense of the nobleman, the very best schools. In time he graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London. He went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son’s name? Sir Winston Churchill.

Someone once said: What goes around comes around.