While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young boy, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.
He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what you’re doing?”
The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
The old man smiled, and said, “Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”
To this, the young boy replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, “You know you’re not going to save them all, there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
The young boy listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said,
“It made a difference for that one.”