People are funny. By ‘funny’ I mean unpredictable. Even those closest to us can behave in ways we find disappointing, especially, when it comes to the lending or the borrowing of money.
An elderly aunt warned the 12-year old me: “Phil . . . neither a borrower or a lender be!” Being a fan of the 1960s American singer nick-named “Little Miss Dynamite”, what she actually said in her slightly confused manner was “Neither a borrower or a Brenda Lee!”
When it comes to doing a good turn for someone, we should always do it without expecting anything in return. One selfless example involved legendary Hollywood actress Olivia De Havilland, who recently passed away aged 104, and Welsh actor Victor Spinetti, who’d just opened on Broadway in “Oh What A Lovely War”, which had transferred from London. Not long arrived in New York, Victor entered a famous show-business restaurant to have lunch with a Hollywood agent who was considering taking him on.
As Victor walked to his table, he was amazed to see Olivia De Havilland waving at him from across the room, calling his name. As he’d only ever seen her before on cinema screens in “Gone With The Wind” and many other films, he was in a mild state of shock as he approached her table where she spoke to him as if they were old friends and introduced him to her influential lunch companions.
Later, after Victor’s meeting with the agent was over and the actor was sitting alone, Olivia walked up to him and said “ I know we’ve never met before today, Vic, but I thought you were marvellous in ‘Oh What A Lovely War’ in London. I made a fuss of you in front of all those people because that sort of thing is important in this town. I hope it gives your career a boost over here. Good luck!” – and then she left.
There’s enough ‘funny people’ around today who enjoy doing people bad turns, so it’s a comfort to think there’s (hopefully) some ‘good people’ around with hearts as big as Ms De Havilland’s to balance things out.