Sidney Poitier Tells the Story of the Jewish Waiter Who Taught Him to Read

by Leah Rosenberg

Famous actor Sidney Poitier didn’t know how to read even – and he ended up becoming a star. How did he get to that point?

Remarkable Story of Sidney Poitier and the Jewish Waiter

It is a story like this that reminds the world of how one act of kindness can go a long way. A very long way. One act of kindness can make all the difference in someone’s life and take them to great places. It sure did for actor Sidney Poitier who recently passed away.

You won’t necessarily know how far you can take someone or how great you can make them. The patience of that kind Jewish waiter who taught Poitier to read is remarkable. He may not have even thought he was doing something so great or helping someone else in such a significant way. But as the famous actor said, “And then, things began to happen.” You can tell how much gratitude he has for the Jewish man by how emotional he gets repeating the story, even decades later.

Acts of kindness is one of the foundations of Judaism. G-d directly teaches it to us with His interactions with the world and man, our forefathers follow in that same path and teach it to us, and our sages do as well. The thousands of years of Jewish history are filled with acts of kindness between G-d and man as well as man and man. And this Jewish waiter who taught Sidney Poitier to read did exactly as a Jew should do.

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