There were two accidentally related emails in my morning download that I’d like to tell you about. To truly appreciate what happened, though, there’s a bit of backstory. In September 2007, I ran the following reader letter in True.
Cathy in Florida enjoyed my “slug” (title) on a recent Headline of the Week:
That’s The Way It Always Happens
Man Married, Sentenced On Same Day
Cathy in Florida wrote:
My husband and I went to Michigan for my brother-in-law’s wedding. My husband was best man and therefore was asked to give a toast after the wedding. My husband has an interesting sense of humor, one of the reasons I love him, and found and used the following toast: ‘Paul, take Shell’s hand in yours. Now put your other hand on top. Cherish this moment for this will be the last time you will ever have the upper hand.’ The entire room burst out in laughter, with the bride’s father, who has been married 4 times from what I understand, saying ‘hear, hear!’ loudly a couple of times as he laughed.
Keep up the good work Randy. Yours is the one publication that I turn off the radio and anything else that makes noise while I read it. I feel it deserves my full attention. It is definitely a day brightener to this disabled person who doesn’t have enough contact with the outside world. I have cystic fibrosis, and am, at age 46, am no longer able to work. Actually, I haven’t worked for 7 years now. I have other publications I received in email, but yours is the only one I read on a regular basis. Fortunately, we are doing well enough financially that in spite of my medical bills, that we are able to afford a Premium Edition. And if money were so tight that we couldn’t afford it, I would find a way to cut back on something so as to pay for what I consider a necessity.”
I’m happy to bring a little light into your life, Cathy — just as your letter brought some into mine.
Spreading the Joy
At the time, another Premium subscriber was so touched by Cathy’s letter that he went to my shopping cart and paid for a year’s renewal to Cathy’s subscription as a gift. When I sent notice of that to Cathy, she replied:
Gee, I’m just speechless. Wow. That is so incredibly nice. Please extend my heartfelt thanks to that kind soul. You know, I didn’t write the letter so that anyone would feel like I was looking for a handout or that I couldn’t afford a Premium subscription. That never even occurred to me. Gosh, that letter is so touching, it’s brought tears to my eyes. Wow. Please feel free to forward this message on to them. How so very kind of them. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I forwarded that message over to the other reader.
Which brings me to the first email this morning:
This is Ernie, Cathy’s husband. She unfortunately succumbed to a long battle with Cystic Fibrosis on September 10th. I am sure she would want someone to get use out of her subscription, so please feel free to gift the remainder of it to someone who is unable to currently.
I replied with my sympathies.
Though I was reasonably sure Cathy shared the issue with her letter with him, I sent him a copy so he’d have it. And that’s when I opened the second message from this morning’s mail, but this time I’ll withhold the reader’s name, another Premium subscriber for some years, which she sent in response to a renewal notice:
“I love the Premium editions, [but] can’t afford to renew it.”
Paying it Forward …for Cathy
Of course, you know what happened next: I transferred the remainder of Cathy’s subscription to the other reader.
Ernie could have just shut down Cathy’s email and not said a thing, but I guess that’s just not what the husband of a gal like Cathy would do. Instead, he remembered how much Cathy loved True, and took not just the time but the emotional energy to write, and to think of someone else at the same time. Now that’s a “wow”!
And if that’s not quite touching enough for you, the guy who got Cathy the gift renewal? A couple years later his own wife died, from cancer. The price of his gift was not a big deal to Cathy, but the thought behind it sure was: with his gift, he let her know she had touched him, and clearly touched the lives of many anonymous readers around the world.
And with her death, someone else gets the rest of her subscription. It took me but a minute to transfer it, but the good feelings will last a long time.
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