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Leroy Ioas and the Master

In 1912, a young boy named Leroy Ioas had the opportunity to meet the Master during His visit to Chicago. As he was on his way to hear ‘Abdu’l‐Baha’ at the Plaza Hotel, Leroy decided to purchase flowers for Him. Despite having only a small amount of money, he was able to find a big bouquet of white carnations, which happened to be his favorite.

As he got closer to the hotel, he changed his mind about giving 'Abdu'l-Baha the flowers and informed his father of his decision.

His dad was genuinely perplexed, "Why, when the Master so loved flowers? "

Young Leroy gave his answer:


‘I come to the Master offering Him my heart, and I do not want Him to think I want any favours. He knows what’s in a person’s heart, and that is all I have to offer.’

After receiving that response, Leroy's father went upstairs and gave the flowers to 'Abdu'l-Baha'. 'Abdu'l-Baha' greatly appreciated the flowers as their fragrance pleased Him and He even buried His face in them, which was His usual practice.


During the talk, Leroy sat at the feet of this great Teacher, completely fascinated. Those dynamic, ever- changing eyes! Those ‘majestic movements’! That charm!


After the talk, the Master stood up and shook hands with each guest. To each He gave one white carnation. Finally only a few remained.


Leroy, standing behind ʻAbdu’l-Bahá, thought, ‘Gee, I wish He would turn around and shake hands with me before they are all gone!’


With that thought, the Master turned and saw him.


During the encounter, ʻAbdu’l-Bahá wore a beautiful red rose. He took it out of His coat and gave it to a boy. Leroy was aware that the Master knew he was the one who brought the carnations. Leroy was appointed a Hand of the Cause of God by the Guardian in 1951.

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