One day during World War I, Winston Churchill visited France as a volunteer to observe the fighting first hand. In his sandbagged shelter at the front line, he was brought a message from a visiting general, a former acquaintance, who wanted to see him. Churchill was instructed to walk to a crossroads some three miles away, where a car would meet him. After waiting at the crossroads for nearly an hour, however, he was joined by one of the general's officers. The car had been sent to the wrong crossroads, the man explained, and it was now too late for any meeting to take place. Churchill, understandably peeved, began the long haul back to the trenches in the dark; then, as rain began to fall, he produced a stream of silent invective describing the thoughtless general.
When he finally reached his camp, Churchill was astonished to find that his shelter had apparently disappeared. Five minutes after his departure, he learned, a shell had come through the roof, obliterating the structure and killing the man inside. "Suddenly I felt my irritation against General X pass completely from my mind," he later recalled. "All sense of grievance departed in a flash. As I walked to my new abode, I reflected how thoughtful it had been of him to wish to see me again, and to show courtesy to a subordinate when he had so much responsibility on his shoulders."