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