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Notes From a Friend

On Thanksgiving many years ago, a young family awoke with a sense of foreboding. Instead of looking forward to a day filled with gratitude, they were preoccupied by thoughts of what they did not have. At best, they would scrape together a meager meal on this day of ‘feasting’. If they had contacted a local charity group, they would have had a turkey with all the trimmings, but they hadn’t. Why? Because they are like many other families, were proud people.

Somehow they would make do with what they had. They difficult situation led to frustration and hopelessness, then to irreparable, harsh words between the mother and father. The eldest son felt devastated and helpless as he watched the people he loved most become more and more angry and depressed. Then destiny intervened… a loud and unexpected knock at the door! The boy opened it and was greeted by a tall man in rumpled clothing. He was grinning broadly, caring a huge basket brimming with every conceivable Thanksgiving delight: a turkey, stuffing, pies, sweet potatoes, and canned goods – everything for a holiday feast!

The family was stunned. The man at the door said, “This is from someone who knows you’re in need and wants you to know that you are loved and cared for.” At first, the father of the family didn’t want to take the basket, but the man said, “Look, I’m just a delivery person.” Smiling, he sat the basket in the boy’s arms, turned to leave, and then called over his shoulder, “Have a great Thanksgiving!” In that moment, this young man’s life was forever changed. With this simple act of kindness he learned that hope is eternal, that people – even “strangers” – really do care. The sense of gratitude he felt moved him deeply, and he swore to himself that someday he’d do well enough to give something back to other in a similar way.

And by the time he was 18 years old, he had begun to fulfill that promise. With his scant earnings, he set out to purchase groceries, not for himself, but for two families he had learned were in dire need of food.  He then drove to deliver them, dressed in an old pair of jeans and a T-shirt, intending to present the gift as if he were a delivery boy. When he arrived at the first dilapidated house, he was greeted by a Latina woman who looked at him suspiciously. She had six children, and her husband had abandoned the family only a few days before. They had no food.

The young man offered, “I have a delivery for you ma’am.” He then went out to his car and begun to carry in bags and boxes overflowing with food: a turkey, stuffing, pies, sweet potatoes, canned goods. The woman’s jaw dropped. The children, when they saw the food brought into the house, let out shrieks of delight.

The young mother, who spoke only broken English, grabbed the young man by the arm and started to kiss him all over, saying, “You gift from God! You gift from God!”

“No, no,” the young man said. “I’m just the delivery boy. This is a gift from a friend.” Then he handed her a note that said, this is a note from a friend. Please have a wonderful Thanksgiving – you and your family deserve it. Know that you are loved. And someday if you have the chance, please do well enough to do this for someone else and pass on the gift.

The young man continued to bring in bag after bag of groceries. The excitement, joy, and love reached a fever pitch. By the time he left, the sense of connection and contribution moved the young man to tears. As he drove away, looking back at the smiling faces of the family he’d had the privilege to help, he realized that his story had come full circle, that to “horrible day” from his youth was actually a gift from God, guiding him, pointing him toward fulfillment through a life committed to contribution. With this one act, he begun a quest that continues to this day: to return the gift that was given to him and his family and to remind people that always a way to turn things around, that they are loved, and that – with simple steps, a little understanding, and massive action – whatever challenges exist now can be turned into valuable lessons and opportunities for personal growth and long term happiness.

How do I know so much about this young man and his family, not only about what they did, but also how they felt? Because He is me.

Anthony Robbins – From best selling book “Notes from a friend”

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Categories: Famous People Stories
  1. Shammi
    May 3, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Very touching. Our small gestures can change the lives of others

  2. May 3, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    @ Shammi – Yes fully agree, its very touching and uplifting story 🙂

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