In his book Humilitas, pastor John Dickson illustrates the beauty of humility in the life of Sir Edmund Hillary. In 1953 Hillary conquered Mount Everest with his Sherpa friend and guide, Tenzin Norgay. Consequently, in that same year Hillary was knighted; in 1985 he was made New Zealand's highest commissioner to India, Nepal, and Bangladesh; and in 1995 he received the British realm's highest award, the Order of the Gater (membership of which is limited to just twenty-four individuals). But despite Hilary's achievements and rewards, he maintained a humble outlook and a readiness to serve others.
John Dickson captures one story that reveals Sir Edmund's profound humility:
On one of his many trips back to the Himalayas he was spotted by a group of tourist climbers. They begged for a photo with the great man, and Hillary obliged. They handed him an ice pick so he would look the part and set up for the photograph. Just then another climber passed the group and, not recognizing the man at the centre, strode up to Hillary saying, "Excuse me, that's not how you hold an ice pick. Let me show you."
Everyone stood around in amazed silence as Hillary thanked the man, let him adjust the pick, and happily went on with the photograph.
It doesn't matter how experienced that other climber was; his greatness was diminished by this intrusive presumption. We are repelled by pride. Edmund Hillary's greatness, however, is somehow enhanced by this humility.