On Christmas Eve Reflections

I’m out of town this weekend for the Christmas holiday, visiting friends and family in North Carolina. Yes, even atheists celebrate Christmas. :)

I thought I’d go to the archives and share two Christmas Eve stories.

I used to be a store manager for EB Games, first in Pennsylvania, then in North Carolina. Christmas Eve 2004, I received a letter from one of my customers:

Dear Sir:

I’m writing this letter to you because I’ve been given an assignment at school to write a letter to someone in the business world who has made an impression on me with their kindness. You were the first person I thought of.

Everytime I come into your store, you are always so nice to me and take the time to answer all my questions. You never rush to get to someone else. So even though they opened a new [store] right down the street from me, I’m still going to your store.

Thank you for doing such a great job!

His name was Brandon, as I recall. I have the letter still, though it’s in storage at the moment.

There was a little more that Christmas Eve, but that, I think, was the big thing.

I’ve always had trouble seeing myself the way others see me, and it often surprises me how I’m seen by others.

Last Christmas Eve was the tenth anniversary of another unexpected message, this one from a veteran of Iwo Jima.

I began the story thusly:

Ten years ago today, I received a surprising e-mail.

Christmas Eve 1999 was a strange day. That was the day of the infamous company Christmas party layoffs, where as some of us walked into the party we were pulled aside by our supervisors and told we weren’t needed on the 26th. This does not a festive holiday make.

That night I received an e-mail from a stranger.

It was the kind of e-mail that, were I to receive it today, I would automatically dismiss it as spam. But spam was not as prevalent ten years ago as it is today, and spam e-mails tend to wear their absurdities on their sleeves. No, this e-mail was too normal, too right. There was, it was clear as I think back upon it, a man behind the words.

His name was William. He was a World War II veteran. He had served in the Pacific Theatre. He wanted to know, was I the Allyn Gibson that had been in his unit at Iwo Jima?

For what it’s worth, the Veterans of Foreign Wars seem to also think that I’m that Allyn Gibson; they keep trying to recruit me.

If you’re braving the shopping malls today, be safe. If you’re visiting with family and friends, happy trails. May you have a fantastic Christmas holiday, each and every one of you.

Merry Christmas, everyone! :cheers:

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