--^---@Dilbert Artist Speaks--^---@


Taken from Scott Adams' DNRC Newsletter

On a more serious note:

A Special Holiday Story


Once a year I like to do something that isn't just for laughs. If you'll switch gears with me, I'd like to share something with you that will help you find the holiday spirit.

It was 1985. Wendy popped into my cubicle to tell me a little story.

She had recently gone for a lunchtime walk with another secretary, Mary.

They came upon a street person who said he was hungry and asked for some change. Mary didn't have any change, but she reached in her purse and gave him the sandwich she had prepared at home for her own lunch.

As Wendy told me the story, there was a brief unspoken pause when we both thought and felt the same thing -- in all likelihood, that sandwich was the only food Mary could afford that day.

Let me tell you about Mary. She is a deeply religious woman who was experiencing a thirty year run of bad luck that would make anyone question their faith. She was a single mother, working full time and barely making ends meet. It was not unusual for her to go a day without eating, though her toddler daughter never did.

Evenings and weekends, as time allowed, Mary used to care for an elderly woman, cooking and cleaning for her. There was no compensation for this, nor could the old woman have afforded it. Mary did it because the old woman needed it and couldn't do it herself. That was all.

Recently Mary tracked me down by phone and asked for some money.

Naturally, it was for someone else -- another single mother who had some serious misfortunes lately and was trying desperately to keep her kids.

Mary had already given all of her own money but it wasn't enough. As a last resort, she called me, having heard from media reports that I might have the means.

I often think about Mary and the sandwich she gave to the street person years ago. I wonder if he appreciated it. And I wonder how long it was before Mary's next meal. And when I think about it I am glad to be a human being, as long as one of us is Mary. And then I realize her sandwich has fed me too. Last week it fed some children and kept them with their mother for the holidays.

If you find something in the sandwich that feeds you too, consider adding Mary to your holiday greeting card list. Send her a card that says, "thanks for the sandwich."

Mary's theory is that when you do things for other people, good things come back to you in unexpected ways. That hasn't happened for her yet. I think it's time.

To maintain her privacy, I set up a mail box address for this purpose. I'll have the cards forwarded to her. Yes, she's a real person, fortunately. I promise.


1325 Imola Ave West

Box 509

Napa CA 94559

[Note: This was originally published by Scott Adams in January of 1997. Consider that fact before sending a card.]


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