How To Make All The Difference In
The World

 All the difference in the world

Every Sunday morning I take a light jog around a park near my home.  There’s a lake located in one corner of the park.  Each time I jog by this lake, I see the same elderly woman sitting at the water’s edge with a small metal cage sitting beside her.

This past Sunday my curiosity got the best of me, so I stopped jogging and walked over to her.  As I got closer, I realized that the metal cage was in fact a small trap.  There were three turtles, unharmed, slowly walking around the base of the trap.  She had a fourth turtle in her lap that she was carefully scrubbing with a spongy brush.

“Hello,” I said.  “I see you here every Sunday morning.  If you don’t mind my nosiness, I’d love to know what you’re doing with these turtles.”

She smiled.  “I’m cleaning off their shells,” she replied.  “Anything on a turtle’s shell, like algae or scum, reduces the turtle’s ability to absorb heat and impedes its ability to swim.  It can also corrode and weaken the shell over time.”

“Wow!  That’s really nice of you!” I exclaimed.

She went on: “I spend a couple of hours each Sunday morning, relaxing by this lake and helping these little guys out.  It’s my own strange way of making a difference.”

“But don’t most freshwater turtles live their whole lives with algae and scum hanging from their shells?” I asked.

“Yep, sadly, they do,” she replied.

I scratched my head.  “Well then, don’t you think your time could be better spent?  I mean, I think your efforts are kind and all, but there are fresh water turtles living in lakes all around the world.  And 99% of these turtles don’t have kind people like you to help them clean off their shells.  So, no offense… but how exactly are your localized efforts here truly making a difference?”

The woman giggled aloud.  She then looked down at the turtle in her lap, scrubbed off the last piece of algae from its shell, and said, “Sweetie, if this little guy could talk, he’d tell you I just made all the difference in the world.”

Photo by: Shoebappa


  1. says

    Great story to remind me that it’s not so much the size or scope of our actions, but the size of our heart that matters most. The little things do matter as much as the big.

    Thank you for this story,


  2. says

    Marc, I loved this story. It reminds me of another well-loved story about an old man who walked along a beach picking up starfish and throwing them back into the water so they wouldn’t die on the sand. Someone asked him what difference it made since he would never be able to rescue all the starfish. He just picked one more up, said “It makes a difference to this one” and then raised his hand to throw it back into the sea.

    This version is a little lovelier because of the little old lady, her loving sponging, and because it happened to you personally. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Sutcivni says

    I was going to say that she was impeding natural selection, but then I realized she is merely a small blip in the evolution of these turtles. And hey she and the turtles get a kick out of it.

  4. Crystal says

    I will tell you from experience…. IT IS the little things that make all the difference in the world. please trust this thought, if you can do one little thing, it is a big thing. you don’t believe me? try it and see… be patient… you will see.

  5. says

    Hey Marc,

    I love these kinds of little stories and that woman is in many ways a silent angel. She doesn’t ask for anything in return she just does the thing she loves doing. I believe her small actions are making a huge difference to this world.

    Thank you for going over and getting her story!


  6. says

    That’s quite an interesting story, Marc.

    If you ask me, making all the difference in the World means doing something that will improve the lives of others, as well as yours.

    It means doing something of huge importance to you and others.

  7. jego says

    Well, I was once inspired by these type of stories. But then when you realize how seldom the results come back to you, you get tired of doing such things and then eventually you’ll stop. No matter how I try convincing myself that I have done a lot and that I have made a lot of difference, the time comes when I get really bored. Then I think to myself “when will this all lead to something good?”or like “was I meant to do this?” or “do I deserve to stop even when success has not yet met me halfway?” Can anyone give me advice on how to be consistent on something or how to persistent on something that I want to fully achieve.


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