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When Henry Ford Was Taken In

The late Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill, liked to tell the story of a visit Henry Ford made to Ireland, the home of his ancestors.  Two trustees of the local hospital came to the world-famous millionaire, asking for a donation.  He offered them five thousand dollars (as this was the 1930s, that was no mean gift).

The next morning, Ford saw in the local newspaper a headline proclaiming that the generous American philanthropist Henry Ford had given fifty thousand dollars to the local hospital.

Ford called the hospital and tracked the two trustees down.  When they came to his hotel, he waved the newspaper at them and asked what it all meant.

The trustees apologized, and offered to print a retraction, informing the public that Henry Ford had not given not fifty thousand, but only five thousand.

Instead, Ford promised them another forty-five thousand, but did so with one stipulation: that a marble arch be erected at the hospital entrance with a plaque that read, “I was a stranger and you took me in.”

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