FIRST: I did not write this, and do not know the name of the author; but I like what this story has to say, and wanted to share it with all of you. Hope you like it too. Mandy had a bad habit of judging people on their looks. At work, in the market and on the street, she was always commenting to herself on people's flaws. This person had "too large of a nose", that person's "shoes didn't match her belt", or "she needs to trim those eyebrows". Doing this made her feel better because no one was harder on her own looks than Mandy. She took extreme care to make sure each outfit was perfect and each hair in place. Always. As far as she was concerned, why should the rest of the world get off so easy? Today was no different. During lunch with Christine, she could hardly focus on their conversation. Instead, she obsessed over the positively gruesome haircut her friend had gotten an hour before. "I've got to remind myself to never go to HER hairstylist", she thought as she sipped her coffee. As they walked out of the restaurant, Mandy stared at the back of her friend's dress. "She really needs to iron those wrinkles out", she thought. Just then, Mandy tripped on the carpet and fell, breaking the heel of her shoe. Dazed and embarrassed, she jumped up and looked around at the now silent restaurant. Not one to laugh such things off, she quickly grabbed what was left of her shoe and ran into the bathroom to collect herself. After a few moments, she fixed her hair and hobbled out of the restaurant just in time to see Christine driving off and waving goodbye. As she limped down Main Street, she contemplated this disaster and why her friend had not bothered to help. "Didn't she see me fall? Why didn't she want to see if I was okay?" A lot of thoughts ran through her head. None very positive. Suddenly she felt a sharp pain in her ankle. The fall was worse than she'd thought. Unable to bear the agony any longer, she stopped at a bench in a nearby park to rest. At the other end of the bench sat a shabbily dressed older gentleman with a full head of gray hair and sunglasses. A napping dog lay next to him. "Sweet Magnolia", the man said, turning to Mandy. "Pardon me?" "Your perfume. It's called Sweet Magnolia". "Why, yes, that's right", Mandy replied, barely paying attention. "I'm Robert. And this is Allie. Say hello, girl." The dog rose on its front paws and peered over at Mandy from behind her master's legs. Mandy glanced over and exclaimed "Oh dear!" Before her was the ugliest, most repulsive animal she had ever seen. Its slobbering tongue hung permanently out the side of its closed mouth. It had missing teeth, moles all over its face and long hairs sprouting in all directions. To top it all off, one eye seemed to be larger than the other. "Isn't she a beauty?" Robert said proudly. Mandy sat in stunned silence. "We've been together 12 years. This ol' girl's the best friend I ever had. C'mon darlin', time to go." The blind man rose and picked up his walking stick. His loyal seeing-eye companion stood up in unison, wagging her tail enthusiastically. Watching them walk away, Mandy realized that as ugly and imperfect as they were, both shared something much more important: an unconditional love that had nothing to do with appearances. At that moment, it washed over her like a giant wave: this was real beauty; this is what mattered. From that day on, Mandy vowed to judge people for who they were on the inside. To her, the world around her had become more beautiful than she'd ever imagined.