Unknown Scout

One dense fog day in London, England 1909. An American visitor, William D. Boyce lost his way in the city. He stopped under a street lamp and tried to figure out where he was. The figure of a boy dressed in “some sort of army uniform”, moved past the man, then turned and came back.

” Can I help you, sir?” the youngster asked.

” You certainly can,” said the man. “I have a business appointment somewhere around here. I’ll be much obliged if you’ll tell me how to get there.”

” No Problem. Do you have the address? I’ll take you there.”

When they got to the destination, Mr. Boyce reached into his pocket for a tip. But the boy stopped him.

” No thank you, sir. I won’t take anything for helping.”

” And why not?” the American asked.

” Because I’m a Scout! Haven’t you heard about Baden-Powell’s Boy Scouts?”

The American had not. “Tell me about them,” he said.

The boy told him what he could of himself and his brother Scouts and all the fun they were having in Scouting.

But the American wanted to know still more.

” I know where you can find out,” said the boy. “Our headquarters is close by, in Victoria Street. The General may even be in the office today.”

” The General?”

” Our General, Baden-Powell himself, sir.”

” Fine,” said the American. “Let me finish my errand. Then, if you have time, we’ll go to your headquarters.”

The boy waited, then showed the way to the Scout office, and disappeared before the American had a chance to learn his name. And so 51 year old William D. Boyce, newspaper and magazine publisher from Chicago, Illinois, met the founder of the Boy Scout movement, the British military hero, Lieutenant-General Robert S. S. Baden-Powell, and learned about Scouting from the chief Scout himself.

Boyce was so impressed with what he learned that he decided to bring Scouting home with him.

On February 8, 1910, Boyce and a group of outstanding leaders founded the Boy Scouts of America. From that day forth, Scouts have celebrated February 8 as the birthday of Scouting in the United States.

What happened to the boy who helped Mr.Boyce find his way in the fog? No one knows. He had neither asked for money nor given his name, but he will never be forgotten. His Good Turn to one man became a good turn helped bring the scouting movement to the United States.

In the British Scout Training Center at Gilwell Park, England, Scouts from the United States erected a statue of an American Buffalo in honor of this unknown scout. One Good Turn to one man became a Good Turn to millions of American Boys. Such is the power of a Good Turn.

What was your good turn today?