Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Story of Goodwill and $100 Bills

Anonymous letters.

They come nearly once a month and contain nothing but a blank card and a $100 bill.

No note. No return address.

Just a $100 bill.

It sounds a little too good to be true. But it is.

For the past three and a half years, my grandmother has been receiving anonymous $100 bills in the mail nearly each month, accompanied by a blank card and postmarked from various locations.

The first letter came in May of 2007. It provided a reason for the gift, but the sender never gave his or her identity. The reason for such generosity? My grandmother's kindness to this person's mother.

The first card was the only one to contain any writing. Subsequent letters have all been blank, with a $100 bill neatly folded inside of a pretty card. In order to further disguise the sender's identity, the letters are postmarked from various locations in Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, West Virginia, Alabama, Texas, and even Wisconsin.

Receiving just one of these anonymous letters would be enough to blow me away. I even feel flattered by a simple "thank you" card. But over the past three and a half years, Granny has received at least 35 of these letters. That's $3,500. All given because of a simple act of kindness.

Granny is always kind and friendly with everyone, friends and strangers alike. This makes it that much harder for her to attempt to figure out who this mysterious giver could be.

Granny recalls one of her friends (who has since passed away) who never learned how to drive. This friend had children, but they also had their own families so they couldn't take her everywhere she needed to go. So each Friday Granny drove her to the grocery store and took her out to lunch. Granny's friend looked forward to this day each week, as I'm sure Granny did, too.

Granny isn't completely sure this woman's family is the source of these monthly blessings, but she certainly is flattered by it. She just wants to know who to thank.

Even though these letters have come steadily for the past three and a half years, she hasn't come to expect them. In fact, there were many times when she thought the letters had stopped coming. When alas, another letter would show up in her mailbox.

Being the caring person she is, Granny doesn't go buy herself a shiny new pair of shoes each month when the special envelope comes around (I'll be honest - I probably would, which is probably why I'm not the type that would get anonymous $100 bills in the mail). Instead, she turns it right around and uses it for birthday and Christmas presents for her friends and family, or she donates it to the Good Neighbors Fund, which helps those who are less fortunate in times of need.

I don't mean to go all "Sunday School" on you, but I know I've learned a few lessons by all of this. Be kind. Be generous ($100 bills not required). And let people know you appreciate their kindness and generosity.

1 comment:

  1. this is so cool. you never know who that person will be that you touch so deeply.
    i love this post.