Community Christmas gets repayment for kindness

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 18, 2010

A most unusual donation was recently mailed to Andalusia Community Christmas. The postmark on the envelope read Ontario, Canada, and inside there was a letter along with a check for Community Christmas.

How did a Canadian find out about Community Christmas? Sgt. Mike Hayden with the Andalusia Police Department received a phone call in late October from someone who wanted to repay the kindness he was shown many years ago when he was passing through here.

“I was touched when I talked to the gentleman on the phone,” Sgt. Hayden remembers. The caller asked the officer to recommend an organization that could use a donation.

Hayden immediately thought about Andalusia Community Christmas.

“I thought at this time of the year it was a worthwhile project.” He said the APD adopted six angels to purchase gifts for to show their support for Community Christmas.

“To Whom it May Concern,” the letter began. Then, the man wrote about a personal experience that happened to him 40 years ago.

“When I was a teenager in 1960, I was traveling around the U.S. with a friend. We met a young guy in Florida and struck out for California in his old ’48 Dodge.

“We stopped at a small store with gas pumps on the edge of Andalusia. We were flat broke and out of gas.

“The older man who ran the store took pity on us and gave us enough gas to get to Mobile. He also gave us a loaf of bread and a can of meat.

“This kind and generous man really helped us out so many years ago. I have long since forgotten his name, but not his kind deed.

“I recently spoke to Sgt. Mike Hayden of your local police department, and he suggested this fund could use some help.” The individual from Canada ended the handwritten letter with the word, Sincerely, and he signed his name.

Sgt. Hayden commented on his phone conversation with the person who gave the donation, “This is a prime example of how we affect the lives of others. Nobody knows who it (an act of kindness) will impact 10, 20, even 40 years later.”

The teenagers traveling through Andalusia in 1960 may have taken the route of Alabama Hwy. 55 or U.S. Hwy. 29. No matter which road brought them here, chances are they will not pass this way again. But, one person put Andalusia on a young man’s map of the memories from an unforgettable journey.

As Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story is that generosity came full circle at Christmastime. The words of Jesus that we often call the Golden Rule come to mind, “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12 NKV).  Isn’t that what the spirit of Christmas is all about?