No, it’s not “Virginia” but rather “J” in Canada. It started with her letter, which ran in the 7 December 2004 issue’s free edition:
I have been enjoying the free version of This is True for several years now, and I just want to say thanks for all the laughs that you have provided me with. Your column has provided me with much needed humor especially in the last while, as I have just left my boyfriend of 3 1/2 years, who is an alcoholic and was verbally (never physically) abusive to me and our 2-year-old son. [My son] and I are now safe, and we have family and wonderful friends to support us. And in some bizzarre way, even though you and I have never met, I count you in that list of friends whose support I receive, in that you bring a smile to my face when I think that I may not be able to go on. I am 30 years old, and I still believe whole heartedly in Santa, and I am going to ask if he will get me the upgrade to the Premium subscription for Christmas this year! Once again, thank you for all your hard work and for making me smile when I want to cry.
Congratulations on getting out (and getting your son out!) of a bad situation, J. Who knows: you might read about your ex in True sometime — seems to me a lot of the people I write about are substance abusers…. The best of luck to you and your son, and I’m very happy if True helped you in any way.
Well, of course, that wasn’t the end of it.
When I run letters like that, it doesn’t even occur to me that some readers might want to step forward and “play Santa,” even though it seems pretty obvious in retrospect.
“G” in Australia was one: “I’ve recently got myself a Premium subscription and predictably, wish I’d done so sooner. ‘J’ in Canada mentioned a hope that Santa would provide an upgrade to her subscription, and from the sound of what she’s been through, she could use a bit of joy. I’m wondering if I might be able to purchase an upgrade for her as a Christmas gift. Please let me know if this is possible.”
It is possible and thanks, “G”, for offering, but “J in USA” beat you to it. He wrote: “As a retired police officer, I can testify to the hell some go through due to abuse. I would like to purchase the Premium version for her as a friendly gesture. Let me know how to go about it, if you still have her email address and can get it to her.” I told “J in USA” how to go about it and he followed up quickly.
“J in Canada” got her first Premium edition this week, and wrote:
What a wonderful surprise it was to open my email and see the Premium edition of This is True!! You and your readers are such truly wonderful, generous people. It overwhelms me to think about how much people really do care, even when it is a total stranger. I just wanted everyone to know that my son and I are doing ok, and will be starting to go to counseling. When I saw the Premium edition, I let out a scream, and my little guy came over to see what the fuss was about. I scooped him up, and we did a happy dance all over the living room! He has been screaming ‘hooray! hooray!’ and blowing kisses for all of our guardian angels ever since. A BIG thank you goes to (ret.) officer J in the USA for being my Santa, and also to G in Australia for the kind offer. Much Love, J (and son) in Canada.
Several others made similar offers. So thanks to all, and I’m pleased to let everyone know what happened.
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“J in USA” continued to renew the subscription for “J in Canada” for several years. Sweet!