Sam Rayburn was Speaker of the United States House of Representatives longer than any other man in our history. Here's a story that reveals the kind of man he was.
The teenage daughter of a friend died suddenly one night. Early the next morning the father of this child heard a knock at his door. When he opened it he saw Sam Rayburn standing outside. The Speaker said, "I just came by to see if there was anything that I could do to help."
The father replied with deep grief, "I don't think there is anything that you can do, Mr. Speaker. We are making all the arrangements."
"Well," Mr. Rayburn said, "have you had your coffee this morning?"
The man replied that he had not yet taken time for breakfast, so Rayburn said that he could at least make coffee for them. While he was working in the kitchen, the man came in and said, "Mr. Speaker, I thought that you were supposed to be having breakfast with the president in the White House this morning."
"Well, I was," Mr. Rayburn, said, but I called the president and told him I had a friend in trouble, and I couldn't come."