I've always loved Victor Hugo's Les Miserables because in it, the story's hero is redeemed and restored by one powerful, transformative act of kindness.
The main character in the book is Jean Valjean, a convict who was unjustly imprisoned for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread to give to his starving sister.
In the opening scene, Valjean, recently paroled and dubbed as an outcast by society, is taken in by Bishop Myriel, a generous and hospitable host about whom the narrator writes --
"The sadness which reigned everywhere was but an excuse for unfailing kindness."
Valjean, who is fearful, bitter, and pretty much hopeless about life, steals silver from the kind Bishop before taking off into the night. Soon enough he is caught by the police who bring him back to the Bishop to return the stolen goods. But when the police tell the Bishop they have found the silver in Valjean's bag, the Bishop tells the police that he had... Read More