Tessie is a sweet but remarkably serious six-year-old girl. Once, she overheard a conversation between her parents about her baby brother, Ted. She heard that he was seriously ill, and that her parents had no money to pay for the treatment he needed. She heard her father tell her weeping mother, ’only a miracle will save Ted now.’
Tessie ran to her bedroom and found a glass jam jar where she kept all of her savings. She poured out all of the coins onto the floor and carefully counted how many there were. Then she placed them back in the jar and rant to the chemists.
She waited quietly for the shop assistant to notice her, but he was deep in conversation with someone else. Tessie began to shuffle about on her feet in an attempt to catch his attention. The assistant didn’t react, so she started to cough loudly. Again, no reaction. Finally, she took a coin out of her jar and tapped it against the glass.
’What do you want?’ the assistant asked irritably. ’I’m busy talking to my brother from Chicago — I haven’t seen him for several years.’
’OK, but I want to talk about my brother’ answered Tessie in the same irritated tone. ’You know, he’s very very sick, so I want to buy a miracle.’
’What did you say?’
’His name is Ted, and there’s something very bad growing in his head. My dad said that only a miracle will save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?’
’Little girl, we don’t sell miracles here. I’m sorry, but I can’t help you’ said the man.
’Listen, I have money and I can pay for it. If it’s not enough, I can get some more. Just tell me how much they cost.’
The well-dressed brother of the shop assistant then kneeled down and beckoned to the little girl.
’What kind of miracle does your brother need, kiddo?’
’I don’t know’. Tessie began to sob. ’I just know that he’s very ill and my mom says he needs an operation. But my dad can’t pay for it so I decided to use my own money.’
’How much do you have?’ asked the man from Chicago. ’One dollar and 11 cents’ said Tessie quietly. ’This is everything I have. But if it’s not enough, I can get more.’
’One dollar and 11 cents — what a coincidence!’ said the man, and he smiled. He took the little girl’s hand and asked her to show him where she lived. ’I would like to have a look at your little brother and talk with your parents. We’ll see what kind of miracle it is that he needs!’
The well-dressed man turned out to be doctor Carlton Armstrong, a famous surgeon specialising in neuro-surgery. In the end, he carried out the operation that Ted needed for free, and soon the little boy returned home completely healthy. His parents, understandably, were ecstatic and the fortuitous turn of events.
’This doctor is a miracle’ said Tessie’s mother. ’I can’t imagine how much the operation cost.’ Tessie smiled when she heard these words. Because she knew that a miracle cost exactly one dollar and 11 cents. Along with the sincere, pure kindness of a little girl and the everyday decency of an ordinary man.