In Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, Jean Valjean, an ex-convict recently released from prison and overwhelmed by the vicissitudes of life, shows up at the doorstep of Monseigneur Myriel. To his surprise, the bishop welcomes him warmly, inviting him to share his supper and offering him a bed for the night. Even more remarkable, he treats Valjean with unfailing courtesy and ignores the stigma of his past. But rising stealthily in the middle of the night, Valjean steals the bishop’s silver. Later he gets caught by the police, who bring him back to the bishop. This time his crime will bring him life imprisonment. However, Monseigneur Myriel pretends that the silverware is a legitimate gift and in a gesture of supreme kindness he takes his most prized possessions, a set of candlesticks, and gives them to Valjean as well. As Valjean is leaving, the bishop says: “Don’t forget that you promised me to use this silver to become an honest man.” This level of trust reposed – and kindness shown – to a complete stranger would be beyond most of us.