The name Roberto de Vicenzo is probably not a name that rings any bells – that is unless you were a fan of the PGA back in the 1960’s. De Vicenzo was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1989 for his skill as a golfer, but he is perhaps most well-known for a story that took place off of the golf course.
The story goes that de Vicenzo had just won a golf tournament (as he did 231 times during his career). He received his check for his prize money, smiled for the cameras, and went back into the clubhouse to prepare to leave. By the time he left, the parking lot was almost empty. As he walked to his car, a young woman approached him. She congratulated him on his victory and then told him the story of her young child who was near death due to a serious illness. She continued on and told him how she and her husband did not have the money to pay for the medical attention that the child needed.
Touched by her story, de Vicenzo took out a pen and endorsed his winning check for payment to the woman right there in the parking lot. “Make some good days to the baby,” he said, as he pressed the check into her hand.
The next week de Vicenzo was having lunch at a country club when a PGA official came to his table. “Some of the guys in the parking lot last week told me you met a young woman there after you won the tournament,” said the official. De Vicenzo nodded. “Well,” said the official, “I have news for you. She’s a phony. She’s not married. She has no sick baby. She fleeced you, my friend.”
“You mean there is no baby who is dying?” said de Vicenzo.
“That’s right,” said the official.
“That’s the best news I’ve heard all week!” said de Vicenzo.
In this story of Roberto de Vicenzo is the attitude of Christ: generosity, compassion, & genuine love. Roberto gave a large sum of his hard-earned money away freely to a total stranger who seemed to need it more than he. When de Vicenzo heard that he had been lied to, he rejoiced that the thief’s tragic story was false! He rejoiced in the truth that the lady who took his money was a liar and a thief instead of the mother of a dying child.
Let us always try to show the same level of compassion towards others.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience… (Colossians 3:12)