Steve Hartman’s “On the Road” reports on the CBS Evening News tend to bring tears to my eyes. These human interest stories are meant to add a pretty bookend to the news of misery, injustice and suffering just reported in the prior 20 minutes. The sugar that helps the medicine go down.
On February 28, 2014, Steve met up with Myles Eckert. His interview with the then 8-year old boy from Toledo, Ohio, reveals the story of Myles finding a $20 bill in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant. He thought about buying a video game, but instead wrote a note and gave the $20 bill to a soldier, Air Force Lt. Col. Frank Dailey, who happened to be in the restaurant with his family.
In short, the note revealed that Myles’ father was a soldier and now in heaven. And in Myles’ family they like to pay it forward. It ends with a “Thank you for your service.”
Steve Hartman goes on to tell how that act of reaching out to a stranger has impacted Dailey’s life, permanently. He has given the $20 away and has been paying it forward ever since.
The report went viral. A corporation established $1 million dollar matching grant program for the charity of Myles’ choice…the Snowball Express, a nonprofit that helps children who have lost a parent to war. Donations arrived. By the end of March 2014, more than a quarter of a million dollars.
All because someone chose to say thank you to a stranger by sharing a priceless gift.
The season of Fall is here and with it, for me, the implied sense to say thank you. To God, our Creator and Sustainer. To those known as family. To those we name as friend.
And to the stranger in our midst. Invest in a stranger. Pay it forward.