Ernest looked at his fleet of ships. Usually, he used them for his firm, which imported marble statues from other countries. But today he was going fishing. And the ship he chose was his favorite. It had an elaborate painting on the side that showed a naval battle. It also had some new updates to its computer system. His favorite ship’s latest acquisition was a device with a small grid to show the ship’s exact location. This new accessory kept Ernest from getting lost.
At daybreak, Ernest hapily sailed the temperate waters until he was far from land. Then he saw a small boat in the distance. There was an old man standing next to its mast. He was waving his arms in the air. There was also a boy with his head hanging over the boat’s edge. Ernest inferred that the boy was suffering from nausea. Both of their clothes were saturated with sea water. Ernest assumed that they were in trouble. Most people never realized, but Ernest had an innate desire to help people. He began sailing toward them, eager to facilitate their rescue and thus solve their dilemma.
As he got closer to the boat, he was shocked by its simplicity. The boat’s wood looked no stronger than cardboard, and the equipment was old. Still, there were several large fish in a pouch in the boat.
Ernest threw a large package onto the boat. He yelled, “Here! You can inflate this boat to get you back to land.”
“Get out of here!” screamed the old man.
Ernest was confused. “Don’t you need help?” he asked. “Your ship doesn’t seem adequate enough to sail so far away from land.”
“You’ve just scared away a huge fish,” the boy said. “We waved to let you know you were too close to us.”
Ernest turned around and headed home. He learned that it’s better not to help unless asked to. Otherwise, you might not help anyone at all.