Stories of Kindness from Around the World

87 Year Old Woman Named Rose

--by Monsieur, posted Apr 10, 2010
The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.

I turned round to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose.

I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?"

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze.

"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.

She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids..."

"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went.

She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet.

I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this

whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know."

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, "We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.

There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with


She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose."

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.
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Readers Comments

murthy akella wrote: She conveyed a message to all seniors how to lead a blissful life at old age by setting herself an example. Very noble woman.
Juju wrote: Very good
Nugget wrote: Very touching story and inspiring person. Thank you for sharing this story. I will share with my 96 year-old mother who loves a good story and a good laugh!
OneStep wrote: This is such a beautiful story, and so inspiring. This elderly woman has taught us what we knew all along but just failed to recognise. I am happy that she got to live her life to the fullest and without regrets. May her soul rest in peace and reincarnate into the most all-knowing and beautiful flower - the rose.
Ode2Joy wrote: Such an inspiring little lady. I am sure she touched many lives on that campus.
lt33 wrote: Such a touching story thank you for sharing 😃
karthik_s wrote: Very inspiring story. Thank you for sharing.
rapumpkim wrote: What an inspiring story! I hope i am half the woman rose was when i'm a senior myself. She truly very wise.
Habib wrote: Would you rather grow older or grow up?
So wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.
brandi warfield wrote: I thank you for posting your story i almost gave up on my dreams mrs. Rose may she rest in peace you are an angel.

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