Thank you for picking up a hitchhiker outside Anniston, Alabama. Even though modern wisdom warns against this, you followed your heart.

Thank you for holding the door for an old woman at Cracker Barrel. You must’ve been fourteen, you were with friends. You were laughing and carrying on when you saw the old woman, pushing a walker. You jogged ahead. You beat her to the door. You held it open.

She thanked you. You yes-ma’amed her. And you made my day, kid.

My whole day.

And thanks for giving money to a homeless man in Birmingham, Alabama. You don’t know me, but I watched you.

I was at a stoplight. You were outside UAB School of Medicine campus. You wore green scrubs, and carried a backpack. You gave money. Then, you gave a cup of coffee and a fast food to-go bag.

Thanks for sitting with that young girl after work. She was seating on the sidewalk outside the bar. She was waiting for her ride.

It was two in the morning. She didn’t need to be alone at that hour. So you sat with her. You might not think you did much, but you did.

Thank you for filling that backpack with food, then leaving it in a tenth-grader’s locker—anonymously.

You know who you are.

Thank you for picking up a hitchhiker outside Anniston, Alabama. Even though modern wisdom warns against this, you followed your heart.

When the hitchhiker stepped into your car, you could tell he had mental illness. But you didn’t try to fix him, you didn’t try to be a hero, you didn’t try to DO anything. You were just nice to him. And he appreciated that.

Thanks for driving a kid named Peter to baseball practice. After his father died, his mother has been working double shifts. Peter has been babysitting and cooking supper for his sisters since his mother started working longer hours.

Peter had to drop out of baseball because he didn’t have a ride. But you stepped in and saved the day. He’s a good baseball player.

And you’re a good human being. Everybody wins.

Thanks for taking care of Miss Caroline’s dog while she was away, receiving chemotherapy. Miss Caroline is a little reclusive, she doesn’t have many friends. That dog is her baby. She didn’t want to leave it alone at home by itself all day. She had no options.

So thanks for watching the dog. And a double thanks for stocking Miss Caroline’s refrigerator. I wish you could’ve seen the look on her face when she opened the fridge to see casseroles, hams, and grilled chicken.

And before I go, thank you for reading this. You might not know who I am—why should you? But I sort of know you, and you’ve changed me.

Yes you. Remember the time you sent me an anonymous envelope with three hundred dollars in it, right after I lost my job?

Or how about the time you talked to me in the waiting room, when I was nervous about my wife’s biopsy.

There was the time you cooked for my mother, my baby sister and I, after my father died.

And who can forget when you told me I was special, after you finished teaching my college class. You said I had a lot to offer this world. Those words stuck with me.

The time you helped me change a tire on a busy highway in Mobile. The time you bought my lunch. The time you called just to check on me.

So to Miss Deena—who sells parched peanuts on the side of the road in Andalusia. To Jason—who drives a van for an autistic day camp. To Billie Jean—who leaves money at gas pumps just for the fun of it.

And to the kid who held the door open for the old woman at Cracker Barrel.

Thank you.

38 comments

  1. Beth Reed - May 9, 2018 6:21 am

    This is the Best Thank You letter I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Thank You Sean for being who you are. I don’t know you in person but I do know that your heart is filled with a lot of love and compassion for others and that’s something that no amount of money can buy.
    I bet that you have done things for people and they do not forget it. Holding open doors, changing tires on dangerous roads, keeping an eye on a young lady waiting for her ride, driving someone to and from, giving money to someone who is short before paydays, offering comfort at hospitals and doctor offices.
    There are a lot of Good People out there and your right up there with them.
    Hugs, Beth Reed.

    Reply
    • LaNeil - May 9, 2018 12:29 pm

      Well said Beth. I whole heartily agree.

      Reply
  2. staffordmotion - May 9, 2018 8:49 am

    This was simply beautiful! THANK YOU!!

    Reply
  3. annie - May 9, 2018 10:07 am

    <3

    Reply
  4. Lisa Perkins - May 9, 2018 10:15 am

    You inspire me every day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Reply
  5. Julie - May 9, 2018 10:46 am

    And thank you for putting such beautiful words together and blessing my life.

    Reply
  6. Carol ann ROTHWELL - May 9, 2018 11:37 am

    Thank you, for caring,and letting me see into your world….It’s the kind of place I want to live in…
    Love ya.👼!

    Reply
  7. Debbie - May 9, 2018 11:42 am

    Thank you, Sean, for being our eyes to see the goodness in the world that nobody reports on! You are an inspiration to do better!

    Reply
  8. Jennifer Feist - May 9, 2018 11:45 am

    Thanks

    Reply
  9. MaryBurns - May 9, 2018 11:48 am

    You just know how to start a person’s day! Thanks!

    Reply
  10. Judy - May 9, 2018 12:11 pm

    I was born and raised in the south and you remind me that so many of “our ways” that my mama taught to me are still out there. I start my day with your column and am a better person for it. Thank you

    Reply
  11. Jo Ann - May 9, 2018 12:14 pm

    Thanks, Sean. You do have a lot to offer the world. We read your post every day. It lifts our spirits & encourages us. Thank you & blessings to you, Jamie, & Thelma Lou.

    Reply
  12. Connie Havard Ryland - May 9, 2018 12:29 pm

    Thank you. You make my day better.

    Reply
  13. Dianne - May 9, 2018 12:33 pm

    And thank you Sean for reminding us every day that the goodness of people still exists in this crazy world in which we all live.

    Reply
  14. Jan - May 9, 2018 12:50 pm

    Amen!!!

    Reply
  15. Connie - May 9, 2018 12:53 pm

    You have an awesome way of making me appreciate the finer things in life! And thanks to mt cousin who got me hooked on your blog😊…I’d tell you to have a great day, but I think you already do that everyday!

    Reply
  16. Ann - May 9, 2018 12:59 pm

    You just made my day! Thank YOU!

    Reply
  17. Candy Clark - May 9, 2018 1:09 pm

    THANK YOU!!! Carry on. Love – Candy Clark

    Reply
  18. Amanda Gibbs - May 9, 2018 2:05 pm

    Good morning Sean. A few weeks ago my mom
    Whom I live with said I want you to do me
    a favor. I want you to go on Facebook and subscribe to Sean of the South. His posts will
    Change your life. And well I did. And I have read every single one you have wrote since. And well I thank you for that. I live near all these places you have talked about in your blogs. I am from NorthEscambia. So I am not far from
    Where you got your new puppy. Which I hope you are loving her more and more these days. Your a breath of fresh air in my mornings when I read your
    Posts. I am a mom of two 13 year twins. A boy and a girl. And I read these posts to them while we are waiting in the car rider line at school. But I want to thank you. These posts are amazing. And thank you for being who you are. God Bless You Sean! God Bless you.

    -Amanda

    Reply
  19. Linda Collins - May 9, 2018 2:27 pm

    A friend of mine from church turned me on to you! What a wonderful thing she did for me. Your writing has meant so much to me. In fact as soon as I read them I delete them. Sounds crazy I know. I have sent my friends your website and turned them on to you I hope. I delete them because you write your words just to me. I know it. I want to hold them in my mind and heart till the next one comes. Please keep up the good work, you are a good writer.

    Reply
  20. Patricia Schmaltz - May 9, 2018 2:41 pm

    … and thank you for brightening my day everytime I read your post. And for making me a little bit more aware of everyone else in the world. And for reminding us to choose kindness and love over all else. Yeah, thank you for making me tear up sometimes too!

    Reply
  21. Sandra Smith - May 9, 2018 3:11 pm

    Thank YOU, for keeping LOVE alive, in this time & place… ❤❤❤

    Reply
  22. Edna B. - May 9, 2018 3:47 pm

    God bless you Sean for noticing and sharing all the goodness in folks. You bring a smile to my heart every day. Thank you. You have an awesome day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  23. Val - May 9, 2018 3:53 pm

    That kid is my nephew. Holds the door for everyone. It’s his thing. And it makes me so proud every single time he does it. Even if it takes 10 minutes because he’ll stand there with a smile on his face for a whole stream of people! Small kindnesses are the best thing in the world. Thanks for noticing and sharing.

    Reply
  24. Charles L. Scott II - May 9, 2018 5:13 pm

    Thanks to you, who tells us of marvelous, human, good things that are still being done, Kudos to you Sean!

    Reply
  25. Sue Cronkite - May 9, 2018 5:21 pm

    Thanks for telling us about these people. They are us.

    Reply
  26. Maxine - May 9, 2018 6:31 pm

    Sean, the thanks go to you. You are the counter balance to the hatedul stuff being published every day. You make us smile, cry and then help us see there is a better side to humanity than is normally pushed at us. You are appreciated more than you can possibly know and loved beyond measure for the happy feeling you created with your words

    Reply
  27. Kathy Thomasson - May 9, 2018 7:43 pm

    I love your column,I look so foward to reading it everyday.Today was so special,you mentioned Miss Deena from Andalusia.I about to head out the door so I can see if she is sitting out today so I can show her this.God Bless you.Kathy Thomasson

    Reply
  28. muthahun - May 9, 2018 7:57 pm

    Like Jan said, “Amen.”

    Reply
  29. Richard Cotton - May 9, 2018 8:33 pm

    No, thank you. Your Blog brightens each and every day for me. May God continue to bless you as you bless your readers.

    Reply
  30. Janet Mary Lee - May 10, 2018 1:05 am

    So wonderful to hear you when you speak of peoples’ goodness. You notice, and it makes me notice! And it makes me appreciative of the kindness and “small” acts shown to me. Which I hope I have pass on…You are encouraging, and so are your many readers who just appreciate the good stuff. We are out there. Thank God. You make a heart proud!!

    Reply
    • Janet Mary Lee - May 10, 2018 1:07 am

      passed…darn my typing..

      Reply
  31. Jack Darnell - May 10, 2018 2:00 am

    Then THANKS for brightening my days. I still appreciate my friend Sheila introducing us!

    Reply
  32. Jack Quanstrum - May 10, 2018 2:00 am

    And thank you for who you are and what you do through your story telling. You enrich my life and help me to focus on being a better person to others who are in need

    Reply
  33. Jeff - May 10, 2018 11:31 am

    Thank you Sean. Eleanor introduced me to you. Your story about the teen holding the door, and the other acts of kindness remind me of John and his wife who picked me up when I was hitchhiking across the county in 1978. I rode in the back of their van for 1000 miles. They were so generous, and I kept saying no more, your are too kind. John firmly replied that this was one of those opportunities when he could do something small to help (a ride, drinks, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches), and it meant a lot, was large to someone else. He told me that everyone should be looking for those opportunities and never let one go by. It affected me to this day. Thank you Sean.

    Reply
  34. Marty from Alabama, Oakman that is - May 10, 2018 12:52 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to give credit, anonymously, to those people that prefer that status. Their “duty” is to serve and be on their way to the next assignment.

    Reply
  35. Edy F Holmes - May 10, 2018 3:13 pm

    Amen!!

    Reply
  36. haileyhudson - May 14, 2018 1:32 pm

    Thank YOU!

    Reply

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