Bill’s nine-year-old son was always talking about his friend Greg. And this was pretty much all Bill knew about his son’s classmate.

Until he noticed something unusual about Greg after a sleepover party. One morning, Greg offered to make everyone breakfast.

“He was nine,” says Bill. “And he cooked breakfast for us. I mean, what kind of nine-year-old knows how to make breakfast?”

This led Bill to ask his son about Greg’s home life. Bill’s son, in the tradition of all well-spoken, socially sensitive, acutely aware American nine-year-olds answered, “Can I have some new Pokémon cards, Dad?”

So Bill asked around at school, trying his best not to come off sounding like a nosy member of the KGB. He even offered Greg a ride home in hopes of learning more about the kid. But Greg declined because he said he usually rode the bus and besides, he too had a lot of important Pokémon cards to trade.

“So,” Bill says, “I staked out the kid’s house.”

Which, I want to point out, is absolutely normal for a middle-aged suburban male like Bill to do. In terms of normalcy, conducting unauthorized surveillance on strangers’ homes is right up there with weekend basketball at the YMCA.

Bill parked across the street and watched from his minivan. There were no cars at the house, nobody was coming or going. He suspected Greg was living alone.

But as it happened, Bill—who has a long track record of this—was wrong. He learned this when he used a more direct approach. Namely, he asked Greg some questions.

“Greg,” he said, “do you live alone?”

“Nope,” Greg said.

Problem solved.

Greg explained that his father worked night shifts and slept during the daytime. And he worked three jobs.

Bill asked, “But how does your father drive to work? There are no cars at your house.”

“A van comes to get him,” said Greg.

A van? Well. It was none of Bill’s business. Which is why he decided to go on another stakeout.

“Hey,” Bill points out, “stakeouts are pretty fun if you wear black and pretend you’re in a movie.”

That night, he saw a commuter van pick up Greg’s father at around 8 P.M. When the van drove away, Bill tailed the van.

What he discovered was this: Greg’s dad was stuck on that commuter bus for three hours, round trip. Every weeknight. Sometimes longer.

So it was getting late, but now that Bill had the facts he drove home and did what any ordinary dad would do in this circumstance. He took the family dog on a nightly walk and picked up its poop with a plastic baggie.

Then he raised eight thousand dollars.

I’ll let Bill explain:

“He needed a car, it was plain and simple. I had to get him off that bus.”

Bill started an office pool. Employees were always pooling money for college football and the NBA, so why not raise money for Greg’s dad?

“I raised nine hundred bucks in two days,” says Bill.

His wife Jessica also mentioned it in yoga class. And by “mentioned it” I mean that Jessica employed the usage of certain guilt evoking techniques she learned from growing up with a Presbyterian mother.

She raised four hundred dollars.

Bill says, “But we were bummed because it wasn’t even close to what we needed. We almost gave up.”

But it turns out that they didn’t have to give up. Somehow word spread. Money started arriving from places unseen. One night, someone even rang Bill’s doorbell during supper and left a cookie tin on the porch. It was filled with over a thousand dollars.

“I didn’t know half of these people,” says Bill. “They were just strangers who heard about what we were doing. The hardest part was keeping all this a secret from our kids.”

After three weeks they had enough to buy a dependable vehicle. And one evening, Bill and several friends—fourteen friends to be exact—went auto shopping, armed with the newspaper classifieds.

“We made it fun,” says Bill. “I mean what’s the point of doing something good at Christmas if it’s not fun? Plus, my wife has a killer buttered rum recipe.”

So imagine this scene: You’re advertising your 2013 Ford truck in the newspaper, and one night fourteen men who smell like buttered rum, with a designated driver named Bill, show up on your front lawn to take a gander at your F-150. You ask these nuts why it takes so many people to test drive a truck, and their only response is: “Merry Christmas!” with lots of hiccups.

Now let us ask ourselves, what do we think would happen next in a scenario like this?

If you guessed that the seller would knock six thousand dollars off the asking price, then you would be correct.

Bill bought a nice truck, fully loaded, with gray leather interior, 50,000 miles, and aftermarket heated seats. And he still had enough left over for new tires. Then they donated the truck anonymously.

“We gave it to a church,” says Bill. “And I told the priest where to deliver it.”

And at this point, the details get a little fuzzy because while Bill and I were talking, his dog started scratching at the back door, which meant Bill had to go get the baggies. But what I can tell you is this:

One cold Christmas morning, a nice truck arrived in Greg’s father’s driveway, driven by a priest who handed the keys to Greg’s father. No strings attached.

Bill says, “They said Greg’s dad broke down and started crying. I doubt he was crying any harder than we were.”

This might be true. But I can confidently tell you that as far as crying goes, right now I have everyone licked.


  1. LindaD. - December 11, 2019 7:43 am

    And there in one story you have shown us the true spirit of Christmas.
    Bless Bill and his friends, and thank you, Sean.

  2. Jane Parsons - December 11, 2019 8:03 am

    What a wonderful idea. Heartfelt good wishes to you all and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

  3. Linda Chapman - December 11, 2019 8:18 am

    Merry Christmas!!!!

  4. Curtis Daughdrill - December 11, 2019 10:09 am

    What great people! God is good!

  5. Steven Paul Bailey - December 11, 2019 10:46 am


  6. Elizabeth - December 11, 2019 11:08 am

    Fabulous people!

  7. Ann - December 11, 2019 11:38 am

    Tears of joy!!…..on my cheeks right now….God is good.

  8. Steve - December 11, 2019 11:53 am

    We need to not just read stories like this; we need to make stories like this. Maybe it’s not a Ford truck. But it can be a bundle of warm clothes, and enough food for a Christmas dinner.

  9. Joyce Mullikin - December 11, 2019 11:59 am

    There are so many great people around us. We tend to only hear of the bad things, it would be wonderful to have a half hour of good news every day.

  10. Meredith Smith - December 11, 2019 12:05 pm

    Beautiful story, merry Christmas!!!

  11. Becky - December 11, 2019 12:57 pm

    Angels do walk this earth and perform miracles. God works through these Angels to do wonderful things for people in need. Blessings to this wonderful family.

  12. Rhonda - December 11, 2019 1:04 pm

    I hope folks never tire of hearing “Good”. We need it so badly. When I was young it seemed most folks were good. The bad ones were few and stood out. Today the mindset is very different. The few are now many and the worst word int the world is complacency. We were the receivers of “good”. After the tornado took our vehicles we had a limited amount to replace Walt’s work truck/favorite thing in the world.
    We answered of all things a Craig’s list ad. We drove 100 miles with stout warnings and instructions from our son, who runs a dealership, to meet them at a police station and stop by the local gym and hire 6 body builders to go with us.
    “Good” came in the form of a wonderful couple with a F350 decked out to the max to haul their 985 foot camper! After an afternoon of introductions and stories related we drove home with a 35,000 truck for 12,500. It was a gift and we treat it accordingly. Humbly grateful that hearts are still filled with a loving spirit. Hearts that don’t want anything return and don’t understand why you think they are grand.
    Making someone feel worth something is a precious gift. You and Jamie do that every day. Merry Christmas!

  13. Jo Ann - December 11, 2019 1:10 pm

    People are wonderful, aren’t they? Of course, we don’t hear stories like this on the news, but people do have the capacity for compassion & generosity. Thank you, Sean, again for reminding us about the good in the world.

  14. Catherine from Augusta - December 11, 2019 1:24 pm

    Beautiful story, Sean! I love it when people do for others expecting nothing in return.

  15. Beki Denison - December 11, 2019 1:27 pm

    Definitely your best Santa story so far year!

  16. bkr - December 11, 2019 1:30 pm

    Well you’ve done. it again! Made me cry for real this time. No watery eye cry. Tears on my face. aren’t people really good? I have always believed that and this story proves it. Thank you again!

  17. GaryD - December 11, 2019 1:45 pm

    Very Good people!

  18. Susan - December 11, 2019 1:51 pm

    Cried like a big fat, but pretty baby. Thank you Sean. Merry Christmas!

  19. Robert Clark Bowling - December 11, 2019 2:06 pm

    Great article Sean! One of your best about good people… Merry Christmas.

  20. Susan Gregory - December 11, 2019 2:12 pm

    Good? Great! Just luv it!

  21. Edy - December 11, 2019 2:24 pm

    The Lord works through his people.

  22. Edna Barron - December 11, 2019 2:43 pm

    What a beautiful story. I love hearing about all the good folks. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  23. jack - December 11, 2019 2:45 pm

    Okay dude, you done done it! Very well written (except for picking up dog pooop). Enjoyed and yep I did wipe my eyes. I love a good story. People ain’t all bad.
    Sherry & jack now in Florida!

  24. Connie Havard Ryland - December 11, 2019 3:03 pm

    Yep and everyone reading this is wiping their eyes. There are good people in the world. In light of all the horrible things in the news lately, we all needed a dose of good. Thank you for letting light shine on all the good things. Love and hugs.

  25. Anne Chandler - December 11, 2019 3:20 pm

    And, THAT is what Christmas is all about! What a beautiful account of compassion and generosity. Thank you for sharing this!

  26. Lita - December 11, 2019 3:23 pm

    Heart thoroughly warmed, cheeks thoroughly wet. Thank you, Sean, Bill, Bill’s son, Bill’s son’s friend Greg, his father, and the givers of love and gifts…Happy Christmas xx

  27. Judy - December 11, 2019 4:09 pm

    This is beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  28. Donna - December 11, 2019 4:43 pm


  29. Shelton A. - December 11, 2019 5:00 pm

    Wow, the good in people never ceases to amaze me…in a very good way. Thanks, Sean. The heartworm treatment worked for my adopted dog and now she is free of those killers. Two great pieces of news in one day. Can’t beat it with a stick.

  30. Neil Mathews - December 11, 2019 5:26 pm

    Proverbs 19:17 (NIV)
    “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.”

  31. Tim House - December 11, 2019 5:42 pm

    What a great story! A lot of people laying up their treasures in Heaven, in this. And a perfect Christmas time thing… <3

  32. Linda Moon - December 11, 2019 5:42 pm

    Someone I know and love knew how to make breakfast at nine years old. He loved to cook and still does all these years later. Bill and Jessica are REAL saints, not just Presbyterian or Priestly. They’re extraordinary people, maybe a little like St. Nicholas who generously gives gifts. Merry Christmas to all for many years to come! And Merry Christmas to you, Sean…..and Jamie and Otis and Thelma Lou, too!!

  33. Dola Johnson - December 11, 2019 8:46 pm

    Sean, I would really like to know “the rest of the story”, i.e., what did the dad do for a living, a mother in the house, siblings,etc. Any ideas?

  34. Velma Leming - December 12, 2019 12:07 am


  35. Susan I Gleadow - December 12, 2019 7:46 pm

    OMG! Love, love, love

  36. Jim Porter - December 20, 2019 3:25 pm

    Is someone chopping onions in here?🤔

  37. Carol - December 31, 2019 1:53 pm

    Not everyone 😭! Merry Christmas 🎄 Happy New Year🎊🎉🍾
    Love ya !


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