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?The Greatest Gift? By Al Martinez Essay, Research Paper

In “The Greatest Gift” Al Martinez defines generosity. Al’s definition of a

generous person is someone who gives without any thought of recognition. He defines

generosity by telling a story about a man named Max. Max was a skinny homeless man

in his twenties. He lived in an abandoned car and worked for doughnut crumbs. A man

named Harris watched him for a couple days, and decided to help him. Harris was a

merchant seaman during the Second World War. Harris brought Max to his house, fed

him, listened to his life story, and invited him to stay in a mobile home located on his

property. Harris gave Max some new clothes, some money, and took Max around town

until he found a job. Max was very thankful and gratitude towards Harris grew. Harris

gave Max a chance to live like a human being and he was proving himself an able and

intelligent worker. Max never attempted to repay Harris but he got his opportunity four

years later.

When Harris was young, he was exposed to cyanide while working in a gold

mine. The cyanide invaded his kidneys causing irreparable damage. Harris kidneys were

failing fast, he was on dialysis, and he was told he needed a transplant. Max was unaware

of Harris’s ailment but he eventually found out about it from Harris’s friend. When told

that Harris need a transplant, Max immediately said “I’ll give him one of mine”. After

months of testing Dr. Robert Melendez determined that Max was an eligible donor and

proceeded with the transplantation. Both men gave each other the gift of life. Al Martinez

defines this as the ultimate generosity and uses the term without hesitation.


Al Martinez defines a generous person as someone who gives without any though

of recognition. Martinez’s story about Max and Harris is a wonderful example of

generosity. I believe that Max and Harris made equal contribution to saving each others

lives. If Harris did not help Max get off the street, Max would be dead. If Max did not

donate his kidney to Harris, Harris would be dead. Most people who donate money to

charity are not truly generous. They do it for the praise and recognition, Max and Harris

did it because they wanted to. Max and Harris are truly generous people.

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