There was a young man walking down a deserted beach just before dawn. In the distance he saw a frail old man. As he approached the old man, he saw him picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the sea.

The young man gazed in wonder as the old man again and again threw the small starfish from the sand to the water. He asked, "Old man, why do you spend so much energy doing what seems to be a waste of time?"

The old man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun.

"But there are thousands of beaches and millions of starfishes," exclaimed the young man, "How can you make any difference?"

The old man looked down at the small starfish in his hand as he threw it to the safety of the sea, and he said, "I make a difference to this one."

Irv Furman, May 1989
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