Somewhere outside Montgomery, Alabama—a gas station. A young girl stands in line. She has long woven hair. In her hands: a soda bottle and a bag of chips.
In front of her is an older gentleman. He has weathered skin, ratty clothes, and work boots.
He tells the cashier he wants twenty-dollars worth of gas. He hands his cash over.
“This ain’t twenty,” says the cashier. “It’s only fourteen bucks.”
The girl steps forward. “Here,” she says, laying a five on the counter.
The man tells the girl he can’t accept money from a little kid.
The girl ignores him.
The cashier rings him up, the girl returns her soda and chips to the shelf. Before the girl leaves, she high fives the man.
He smiles and almost ruptures a cheek.
“God bless you,” he says.
Alpharetta, Georgia—his wife cheated on him and ended up pregnant. She left him and moved in with her lover.
Her lover turned out to be a piece of work—he ditched her. She had her baby alone.
A few hours after she gave birth, the girl called her parents. They refused her—for religious reasons. A few of her friends did the same.
So, she called her ex-husband. He answered his phone. She expected him to hang up. He didn’t.
In fact, before they finished talking, he had already piled into his car and pointed it toward the hospital.
He held her new baby, he kissed it. And years later, that kid still calls him “Daddy.”
Mobile, Alabama—her father committed suicide when she was sixteen. She had three brothers, and a mother who was mentally ill.
And a mortgage.
She got a job to support the family. She worked long hours, then came home to cook suppers. She was a child-mother.
Long after the girl’s brothers left home, she cared for her elderly mother until she died. The girl never married.
She made it to eighty. They buried her last month. Her brothers cried long and hard.
“God bless my sister,” one brother said. “She was too good for this world.”
Spartanburg, South Carolina—an old woman walked her dog every day.
She fell while out strolling. Don—a recently divorced forty-six-year-old— saw her hit the pavement.
He ran to her, picked her up, and carried to her home. He laid her in bed.
And he threw his back out.
His physician said he herniated two discs. One outpatient surgery and a small fortune later, they sent Don home.
The day he returned from the hospital, there was a knock at his door.
The old woman came with gifts. A casserole, a cake, and a God-bless-you card.
“She took care of me,” said Don. “I ate like a king for two weeks. She even stopped by to change my bandages.”
Since then, the two have become good friends.
I’ll cut to the chase.
I don’t know who you are or what you’re going through today. But I know life is hard. Damn hard. I know that it breaks you, then mails you a bill.
If you’re reading this, I want you to know that you’re on my mind tonight.
God bless you.
Connie Suttle - June 5, 2017 1:27 pm
God bless you, too, Sean.
Brenda Laurence - June 5, 2017 1:35 pm
Thank you for reminding us that there are good, caring people in our hurry-scurry world.
Cathi Russell - June 5, 2017 1:36 pm
You did it again…the ugly cry!!! Love you Sean!
Carol Goodson - June 5, 2017 1:42 pm
You made me cry: good on you for reminding us how much holiness there is in the world.
Sandi - June 5, 2017 1:45 pm
After reading this, Sean, I am literally typing through tears.
You are so right: Life is hard. At times, disappointments flood all around us. When I get blue, I realize that someone somewhere has got it worse. But sometimes, in the midst of an ordinary day, someone somewhere extends a helping hand to his fellowman, and the sun shines a little brighter. God bless you abundantly, today and every day.
Diane Pate - June 5, 2017 1:56 pm
Having recently lost my husband who was one of the good guys I can identify with this story. He showed me what kindness to others just because they needed it meant. You didn’t have to ask him, he had an insight to know they were hurting and never hesitated to do a good deed. When he died the stories filled my heart of the kind acts he did just because it was the right thing to do. He was the kindest and most selfless man I have ever known. This story made me smile for him. I look forward to seeing Sean in Marianna, Florida on June 22nd to hear his warm stories. They have helped me through this hard time of my life. Thank you, Sean.
Rogene martin - June 5, 2017 1:59 pm
Precious, loving, reminders of choices. Thanks
Michael Bishop - June 5, 2017 2:04 pm
“. . . breaks you, then mails you a bill.” True, but as you also note, by means of to-the-point stories, it sometimes tosses you really unlikely tow lines in the guise of sometimes unlikely fellow human beings. (We owe you again.)
Dave Helms - June 5, 2017 2:15 pm
I’m not crying, because a lifetime in journalism stole about all my tears, but this was a good read and true as an arrow. Thanks for writing it.
Jack Quanstrum - June 5, 2017 2:15 pm
All I know is that I want to be good to as many people as I cross paths with today.Your stories make me want to be part of the good that is in this world. Thank you again Sean for such beautiful story telling.
Kathy Ball - June 5, 2017 2:26 pm
As a new reader (less than a week), I am hooked with your style, your sensitivity and your ability to reach deeply into my heart! Thank you, Sean!
Jan - June 5, 2017 2:32 pm
Bless you and all the people you write about!
Judy Miller - June 5, 2017 2:39 pm
If you live long enough, I’m nearly 78, life gives you more pain and hurt than you ever thought you could take. Then, one day, you realize you are stronger than you ever imagined, you smile because of that realization and if you come to the realization that it must have been God who got you this far, you smile even more.
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - June 5, 2017 2:44 pm
Thank you, Sean, for thinking of us. I am one of the lucky ones. My parents sacrificed so I’d have a better life. Whatever they got they appreciated and they were never jealous of those who had more. They believed in God, family, and hard work. Have a blessed day!
Bobbie - June 5, 2017 2:47 pm
Ditto, Sean, ditto.
George Buchanan - June 5, 2017 3:02 pm
God Bless You, Sean. You have a gift for words!
Madeline - June 5, 2017 4:03 pm
Sweetness hand in hand of love shared, encouragement, black words on my white screen that become color fillled images of abundant life all around. Thank you…..
Sarah Lepore - June 5, 2017 6:04 pm
Growing up around Batton’s crossroads outside of Enterprise, Al. make your post particularly poignant to this Orlando, Fl. resident. You have not only pulled to the surface a thread to the long pushed down fabric of who I am but also awakened in me a need to connect more with people. I smile more readily at strangers and let that car cut into traffic with a dip of my head. I really look at people now and my heart swells with love. Thank you.
Joy Kelley - June 5, 2017 6:56 pm
My month has consisted of my husband moving 4 hours away for a job, my stepmother being diagnosed with breast cancer, and yesterday I had to have my kitten put down..because of cancer. You answered God’s timing, Sean. I cried. Thank you.
Wendy Boston - June 5, 2017 7:57 pm
Oprah said “Love is in the details” and I’ve never seen a better example of that than your ability to witness it and write about it in the ways that you do, just wow. I loved this one.
Melissa Armstrong - June 5, 2017 11:55 pm
Janet Mary Lee - June 6, 2017 12:44 am
Well, I am Blessed! I know some of those kind of people- and I know you are sandwiched right in there, too! Thank you!
Donna D - June 6, 2017 1:12 am
How do you keep on giving us such good “stories”? Thank you, thank you, thank you for reminding us that there are good people everywhere in every shape, size and age. Keep it up!!
Michael Hawke - June 6, 2017 1:32 am
Thank you. I needed that tonight.
Patricia Gibson - June 6, 2017 3:02 am
Thank you, Sean!
Susan in Georgia - June 6, 2017 4:13 am
I wish I knew how to say THANK YOU in every language for your daily stories. You have the grandest knack for pulling at heartstrings, for bringing forth smiles and tears, and for opening eyes to every day happenings. You did it again with this story you titled “Good.” May God radically bless you ~ GRACIAS (Thank You in the only other language I know ever so slightly!)
Sandra Lee Van Dam - June 6, 2017 3:19 pm
Starla - June 9, 2017 4:53 am
Again. 50/50. But I always feel better for at least a couple of seconds after I do read your articles. Usually it’s for the other guy, but that’s why it’s a happy . ⭐️
Barbara Nelle Ewell - June 20, 2017 10:21 pm
Kathy cox - July 8, 2017 8:31 am
Thank you. Your words remind me of gentler times. That some people still care and you share the warmt within you. I believe you DO care. Thank you….I needed that.
Lewis Blomeley - July 21, 2017 12:04 pm
If you should run short of story material (which I can’t imagine since you could find a story in a discarded candy wrapper) there is a German family in Marianna that would be good for at least a dozen stories. Email me if you are interested.
Lewis Blomeley - July 21, 2017 12:06 pm
Mary Ann Massey - July 26, 2017 2:03 pm
I have read this one two or three times….never gets old…..always gives me a sweet feeling….thank you…
Joy Ross Davis - July 26, 2017 2:06 pm
Thanks so much, Sean. You write so beautifully, and your little vignettes of life never fail to touch my heart.
Dianne - July 26, 2017 2:46 pm
God Bless you Sean, your words break my heart and give me hope all at the same time.
Ben smith - July 26, 2017 3:01 pm
Awesome. That’s a fact.
Mary Beth - July 26, 2017 5:21 pm
Just as it is the “little foxes that spoil the vine” it is the “little pebbles in the ocean that make the big waves.” Such profound thoughts in simplistic words that spur on wave making. Thank you for giving us your best to help us be our best! What a wonderful world!
Gay Lynn Johnson - July 26, 2017 5:49 pm
The rich elephants are standing on the work of us good worker ants. Together we must ask for ask for Medicare for ALL. Everyone should stay healthy with the help of needed visits to health care providers. It would be GOOD to help EVERYONE.
Katie Maiorano - July 27, 2017 5:01 am
And God bless you too Sean!!
Deb smith - July 28, 2017 1:13 pm
Thanks. I got the shock of my life yesterday. Not sure where to turn and I wake up to your essay. Just going to put one foot in front of the other. Blessed to have you SOTS
Gus - February 9, 2018 3:27 pm
Thank you & God bless you.
Annette H. Bailey - February 9, 2018 5:37 pm
Sean…I know several people who thinks of others before themselves. I can only help with a few dollars here and there for I’m not able to help others physically. I use to though. And it brings a good feeling to ones soul when helping those who can’t help themselves. My whole family, and we are many, hells folks….but that’s how we were raised. Thanks Sean… through your stories, I am reminded of folks who are givers and not takers. God bless you sir. ?
Sherry Rix - February 10, 2018 4:17 am
Life is hard…..2weeks ago, I found out my sister has pancreatic cancer. 1 week ago, my sweet loving husband of 31 years died of a massive heart attack at 55 years old. Life hurts….it knocks you down and you can’t get up. Picked up his ashes today..can’t breathe.
Steve Winfield (Gus) - February 1, 2020 10:45 am
Forrest Roberts Lambert II - February 1, 2020 9:19 pm
G-d Bless and keep you, Sean!!!