I Just Wanna Thank You

Thank you. That is the​ purpose of this column. I want to say “thanks.” I don’t know you, but I believe in the good you do. Especially right now.

In public, I used to see you sometimes and think to myself: “I wish someone would thank them.” But I never do because if I did, you’d think I was a complete nut job.

Maybe I am a nut job. But I’m allowed to be that way. After all, I am a columnist—sort of—and that means my proverbial box is missing a few crayons.

Long ago, I used to deliver newspapers with my mother. We used to deliver to a fella who would answer the door in pajamas. He had messy hair and a bushy white beard. He always gave me a five-dollar tip.

He was generous. If he wasn’t home one day, he would pay me ten bucks the next day. He was a columnist, my mother told me. And that’s why he was such a weirdo in weird pajamas. Even his house smelled weird.

I suppose I ought to thank him while I am at it.

Also, thanks to the man I saw in the gas station who bought a lottery scratch-off ticket. Who won thirty bucks, then turned around and gave the cash to a woman behind him in line. What a guy.

The woman thanked him in a language that sounded like Russian, but he didn’t seem to understand, so he answered: “Alright.”

Thank you, Cindy—the woman who translated one of my speeches in American Sign Language for the front row​. She told me I talked very fast and now she has problems with her rotator cuff.

She also taught me how to cuss in sign language.

Thank you to the seventy-year-old man who went back to school to get his GED. And his forty-six-year-old daughter, who tutored him.

And you. You deserve thanks, but you don’t always get it. In fact, you rarely even get a nod.

That’s a shame. You deserve the same tiara they put on Miss America. You deserve something huge like a mid-size SUV, or pony named Silver, or an RV with slide-outs, or a big plate of spaghetti with garlic bread.

You deserve money, fame, and material things. But then, you would never accept them. I know how you are.

Everything you do is outside the spotlight, and I don’t want to screw that up for you. That’s why I am not going to use your name—except Cindy. I already used Cindy’s name, and I can’t take that back now.

You deserve a helping of gratitude. Why, if I had a million dollars, I would give it all to you. Every penny. I wouldn’t keep a dime for myself.

Certainly, I might use some to buy season tickets to the Atlanta Braves, but that would be it. Also a monster truck. But then you would get the rest.

I would give it to the man I saw in Cracker Barrel. He only had the use of his right hand. He piloted his motorized wheelchair through the full dining room, and his children stayed near him.

His oldest daughter fed him with a spoon. She dabbed his chin with a napkin. They all laughed, they messed around. They were beautiful.

That family deserves a million bucks.

So does the woman who raised me on hard circumstances, hard work, and tossing newspapers on cold mornings.

So does the man with the speech impediment who works for the cable company. The man has every right NOT to be in customer service, but he has chosen to overcome his obstacle.

Your waiter. Your supermarket clerk. Your teacher. Your janitor. The average fella who waits in line at a gas station to buy a scratch-off ticket but doesn’t want the winnings.

Long ago, a man once handed me five bucks while I stood on his porch, delivering his newspaper. It happened to be my birthday that day.

He said: “Are you having a good day, son?”

“Yessir,” I said. “It’s a great day today, it’s my birthday.”

His face lit up. The nutty man looked like he was going to burst. He told me to wait on the porch. He darted away then reappeared with a tiny wooden box. He gave it to me.

In the box was a pen. I don’t know if it was expensive or not, and I don’t care. To me, it was worth more than a million bucks.

“Thank you for all that you do,” the columnist said to me.

And now this columnist is saying it to you.


  1. Sandi. - April 1, 2020 7:03 am

    Bless your kind, friendly, huge heart, Sean. You’re the person all of us should be saying “Thank you” to, for a gazillion reasons!

  2. Ann - April 1, 2020 7:41 am

    Such simple words….THANK YOU…..that are truly gold plated….they don’t hurt to say and they can be such a gift!!

    THANK YOU ❤️

  3. Meredith Smith - April 1, 2020 10:33 am

    Sean, you have the biggest heart ❤️ of anyone I know. Those words are so simple to say yet so rarely uttered in today’s world. At least from the heart. Well I want to thank YOU for giving me a daily dose of happiness, especially right when I wake up so my day begins on the right foot. You are a true gentleman and columnist.

  4. Steve Winfield (Lifer) - April 1, 2020 10:37 am

    Absolutely. Thank you Sean, and Jamie. I’m very happy for your success. You have a real knack for making people smile. Both of you made me feel special at the book signing. I went straight home and started reading it with enthusiasm.
    Me & so many others look forward every day to what you’ll have to say. That has to make you feel good. It should. You’re in the “happy” business & a big portion of it oughta be yours too. If you were my paper boy I’d try to tip you every day.
    Big hug from Shannon, Alabama.
    Love Steve & family.

  5. Merita DuBose Meyer - April 1, 2020 11:23 am

    Thank you for the pleasure you give your readers, for letting us be entertained and taken away for a brief period of time from the worries, responsibilities and struggles that complicates our lives. This world we live in is so full of sadness and issues that we sometimes loose focus, your stories seen to bring me back to a warm and friendly place each day when life was much simpler and less complicated. Thank you from a NW Florida girl who has lived and traveled around the world with my husbands air force career and now resides in Central Alabama. Your stories are all so relatable and always entertaining.

  6. Jean - April 1, 2020 11:25 am

    Thank you too Sean! You bring love and laughter to many people with your gift of humor and writing. I look forward to it every day and I know many more who do too. We need all the happy we can get right now and thank you for that. I would give you a hug but can’t. Sending you a virtual hug~!!

  7. Holly mcintyre - April 1, 2020 11:26 am

    Thank you

  8. Jane Chandler - April 1, 2020 11:45 am

    Thousand times thank you!

  9. Marilyn - April 1, 2020 12:23 pm

    How special to remind us to say “thank you” with your meaningful examples! Thank you for making my morning coffee so enjoyable while reading what you have to say each morning.

  10. Jan - April 1, 2020 12:34 pm

    Awesome! I needed this today. I look forward to this every morning. These are tough times for so many people. Thank you, Sean, for making our world a better place!

  11. Patricia A Schmaltz - April 1, 2020 12:46 pm

    Particularly now… I like to say THANK YOU to anyone I see working in the grocery stores. Those folks are putting up with a lot of guff lately. “No.. .I don’t know when the next TP delivery will be… ”
    THANK YOU Sean! You always make my day.

  12. Keloth Anne - April 1, 2020 1:00 pm

    And THANK YOU 🎉🥰♥️

  13. Anne Arthur - April 1, 2020 1:02 pm

    Thank you for such a lovely thank-you-note. Yep, there are lots of good people in our world. Thank you for helping us remember who they are. You are the best.

  14. AlaRedClayGirl - April 1, 2020 1:14 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for your warm, witty, engaging, and powerful words every morning. After reading your column and everyone else’s responses, I feel like I’ve been given a hug and a pat on the back that says ‘everything is going to be okay.’ Thank You!!

  15. Tom - April 1, 2020 1:27 pm

    You just made me realize that I do not say Thank You enough. It does cost a thing to compliment someone, say thank you, or just be kind and that could make their day, as well as yours. By the way, Thank You Sean. You are a great writer and you make my day with these down to earth blogs.

  16. Lita - April 1, 2020 1:33 pm

    Thank you, Sean x

  17. Clonnie Kujawa - April 1, 2020 2:13 pm

    Thank you Sean for making me smile, cry and laugh. Thank you you for always being here in the morning to help start my day. If I win a million bucks I would give it to you. Well I would give it to you after I helped my kids, my sister’s and some dear friends who are on fixed incomes and could really use some extra$. I would need to buy myself a little house since I am on a fixed income myself. Nothing fancy because your writings are worth so much more than what will be left for you,at least enough to buy a new van or maybe a new RV so you can keep your pimento cheese and beer in the refrigerator. Love you Sean and just so you know, you are a great writer.

  18. Kathy Daum - April 1, 2020 2:24 pm

    You’re welcome! And thank you.

  19. Sharon Brock - April 1, 2020 2:53 pm

    You are welcome Sean and thank you for noticing the everyday people doing good things. And thank you for taking the time to write about all of us. “Remember it is not how much you love, but how much you are loved by others.” L.Frank Baum in the Wizard of Oz.

  20. Gwen@ Monroe - April 1, 2020 3:02 pm

    I know. Yeah I know how it is to want to say thank you to a lot of folks here lately but can’t seem to get the words out. So, I smile at them because I feel great gratitude for them. And thank you Sean for the joy you bring to each day. Hang on to that profane sign language knowledge. I’m sure it’ll come in handy somewhere along the way. 😊

  21. Lynn Hamrick - April 1, 2020 3:11 pm

    Thank you for all that you do.

  22. Carol Miller - April 1, 2020 3:29 pm

    Love all you write. Loved the video of you playing guitar and reading recipes. Love your wifes drum rolls. Just thanks to you

  23. Judy 🌻 - April 1, 2020 3:48 pm

    Thank you. Thank you for your words of encouragement and compassion. Thank you for your sense of humor. Thank you.

  24. Dawn A Bratcher - April 1, 2020 4:25 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for bringing life, love, and laughter in to my life every day. Today was especially meaningful. Your warm, tender words reached into my heart and made me feel special. Made us all feel special. ❤️

  25. Linda Moon - April 1, 2020 4:44 pm

    You’re not a COMPLETE nut job….just enough to be a columnist, musician, and storyteller. Your good generosity is beautiful, so on behalf of myself and others who really don’t know you I’m saying it back to you: THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO, SEAN. And, to my late mother who was like yours: hard circumstances, hard work, and tossed newspapers on cold mornings with her son…Thank you.

  26. Terry Kinman - April 1, 2020 5:01 pm

    Through the years I have had many different jobs (I think I may have out numbered you, Sean) any way most of them were in the service industry… fast-food, waitress, retail, cashier, receptionist well you get the picture. I always say Thank You.

    Thank you Sean.

  27. John Skelton - April 1, 2020 5:16 pm

    I was in a fast-food chain when two police officers came in, ordered and sat down. Before I left I went over to them and thanked them for their service. They are bound by so many rules that makes them less than human if followed to the letter, so I know it has to be a hard just, especially when you don’t always know what you’re facing.

  28. Chasity Davis Ritter - April 1, 2020 5:33 pm

    Sean, I work for wmrt. We are still open providing groceries and pharmacy services as well as that all important toilet paper. For 20 years that I’ve worked there I’ve been told I was replaceable almost everyday but now Because of the crazy world we are in I have become essential. I had a customer sincerely tell me thank you this week and let me tell you it was really something. I made a point to tell some of our truck drivers that I got to see this week too Just like my reaction to the customer you could tell they too were unaccustomed to hearing it. We should all tell more people more often. Thank you so much for your blog today it made me smile and I’m going to share it on my Facebook. Let’s keep being thankful for those essential people out there. All the Doctors and nurses and food workers and cleaners and delivery people and just everyone doing their part. Please everyone do your part and stay home and keep them safe too. Please pray and pray some more and wash your hands and stay home and stay safe. God bless you Sean. Thanks for keeping our spirits up and telling the stories of the kind people out there. May the Lord watch over us all.

  29. Tammy Spargo - April 1, 2020 6:41 pm

    You are a blessing to us all, Sean!! Thank you!!
    I love how you look at life, and the people you meet!! And the reminder to be thankful!!
    The highlight of my year, when I look back on this time, will be getting to hear you speak in Birmingham, in a Books-A-Million, right before all THIS went down. Sitting with strangers, listening to you sing & speak, waiting in line and getting to meet you and get a hug, well, that’s my best for 2020. I’ve already decided!! The trip to meet you, and your lovely Bride, was the last “normal” feeling thing and last trip my husband and I took before the “Stay-at-home” order happened here in NC. It was an awesome evening!! So, thank you, Sean!!

  30. Linda Jo - April 1, 2020 7:19 pm

    Thank you for reminding me that life will get better.

  31. Maxine - April 1, 2020 8:25 pm

    Sean, Thank you for being a National Treasure giving us a brighter, kinder viewpoint every day you write.

  32. Patricia Gibson - April 1, 2020 8:55 pm

    Thank you Sean and many many blessings ❤️❤️

  33. Patricia Gibson - April 1, 2020 8:56 pm

    As soon as this is over post your tour schedule

  34. catladymac - April 1, 2020 9:49 pm

    Right back atcha.

  35. Gale Smith - April 1, 2020 10:35 pm

    Thank you Sean!

  36. Lisa - April 2, 2020 2:07 am

    Another Encourager during these weird times! Thank you… I work at a children’s hospital in Mobile, AL. Needed to hear these words!!

  37. Nancy M - April 2, 2020 5:51 am

    Thank you, Sean! Y’all be careful!

  38. Terri Hinds - April 2, 2020 11:58 am

    …and thank you, mr Sean. Prayer ascending🙏😇❤️

  39. Stephani - April 2, 2020 1:40 pm

    Thank you Sean for putting smiles on our faces and helping us pay attention to the “little” things.

  40. Suzanne Cahill - April 2, 2020 5:32 pm

    Thank you for becoming a writer.

  41. Jenny wren - April 2, 2020 9:48 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for expressing so eloquently what so many of us feel but don’t get round to saying. I was shocked today when I thanked shelf fillers in my local store for their hard work and they were visibly startled as no-one had thought to thank them before. We should all the to make saying Thank You as normal as saying Hello or Good Morning.

  42. Linda Ivey - April 5, 2020 2:41 pm


  43. Joan C Mitchell - April 7, 2020 1:07 am

    Right back atcha, Sean.

  44. Mary Hicks - May 13, 2020 4:04 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for reminding us of simple daily blessings we can be to important people, even though they may think they are not important. For instance, you lift me up every day with your God given talent. You make a bad day seem better. You make me smile when I feel sad. You are an important part of my day. Take care and be safe. God bless you and Jamie, from an old white haired lady in Montevallo Alabama.

  45. Cecilia Johnson - May 14, 2020 10:38 pm

    Thank you, Sean. Your sentiments expressed in just the right words make us strive to be better.

  46. Mary Hicks - May 18, 2020 7:30 pm

    Thank you, Sean for making me laugh or cry or feel so blessed. You are an inspiration. God bless you and Jamie.


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