Not-So-Deviled Eggs

“First you gotta peel the eggs,” says the old woman as she peels hard boiled eggs over a sink. “This is the hardest part. You gotta have good fingernails.”

We are having a video call. The white-haired woman is standing in her kitchen. When she finishes peeling, she fires up an Oster electric mixer that whirs like a son of a gun.

“I use an electric mixer to whip my egg filling ‘cause my hands get tired stirring.” She laughs. “My deviled eggs are so good.”

Good. The goodness of mankind is a hotly contested idea in today’s tense world. Historically, this is nothing new. People have scoffed at the idea that mankind is intrinsically good since Eve took up dressmaking. Many believe there is no inherent goodness in human nature.

And then there are people like Miss Reba, with her deviled eggs.

Reba is 83 and a committed deviled-egg artist. The woman has been cooking for funerals, weddings, and local clambakes for 60-some-odd years. And she’s still chugging.

“The secret to good deviled eggs,” says Miss Reba, addressing the phone camera, “is there ain’t no secret.”

This makes her giggle again. Then Reba takes a sip of a potent clear drink her daughter, Annie, mixed in honor of our phone call.

I ask the old woman, “What’s in the glass?”

Reba takes a sip. “Ovaltine.”

Miss Reba’s deviled eggs are famous in four counties. This particular batch is for the family of a 17-year-old girl who died in a car wreck. These eggs are for the funeral.

Sometimes Reba has been known to travel up to six hours to deliver her deviled eggs.

I asked why Reba does this. Why prepare food for random people, then go to the trouble of hand delivering it?

“Because I need them to see my face. Need them to know someone’s praying for’em. Deviled eggs are my excuse for dropping by.”

Miss Reba isn’t alone in her quest for goodness. There are others like her.

Take Marc. He’s a guy who goes around paying people’s bills. In fact, Marc’s favorite thing to do is visit the power company’s main office and pay the debts of delinquent customers.

Marc explains. “I just walk in and tell the gal at the desk to use this money for people who’re behind on payments. No big deal.”

No big deal.

Sometimes, Marc does this in grocery stores, too. Usually, he approaches the manager, gives a few hundred-dollar bills, and instructs the store to buy groceries for anyone whose credit or debit card is denied.

Some of Marc’s recent benevolence victims have reportedly wept in the checkout aisle.

Again you’re probably asking yourself what kind of guy goes around doing stuff like this? You’re wondering whether Marc is a rich guy with a few butlers, a 203-foot Benetti Luxury Yacht, and a Lexus in every color.

Nope. Marc works in a steel fabrication plant. Marc’s car is a 2003 Honda. Marc’s bank account is sometimes in the red.

Marc adds, “I don’t care if I go broke helping folks. I grew up poor, dude. I know what it’s like.”

And then we have Samantha.

Last month Samantha was standing in line at a gas station. Ahead of her was a young mother in a hotel-maid uniform with two kids. The lady’s oldest son wanted to buy a video-gaming magazine.

The mother looked at her son quizzically and said, “You don’t even own an Xbox, silly, go put that magazine back.”

The boy did as he was told. He dropped his head and returned the magazine to the rack.

Samantha was merely an observer, but she saw plenty that day. Which is why she did something unusual when it was her turn at the register.

After the mother and kids exited the store, Samantha asked the clerk if that young mother came into this convenience store often.

“Every evening,” replied the cashier. “Brings her kids in here every night after she gets off work to get’em snacks.”

That was all Samantha needed to know. She piled into her car and drove to the nearest big-box superstore. She bought a Microsoft Xbox Series X.

And here’s how it went down.

The next evening, as predicted, the young mother entered the gas station with her children in tow.

Initially, the cashier played it cool. The cashier handed the young boy a magazine and said, “Here, someone left this magazine for you.”

The kid was lit with electric joy. He took the magazine in both hands and you would have thought he’d just won a pony.

“Oh, wait,” added the cashier nonchalantly. “Almost forgot. I was also supposed to give you this.”

The cashier lifted an Xbox onto the counter.

They say the little boy stood in the center of an average American gas station and cried, unable to form words.

And I was going to add more to this story, but I’m in the same boat.


  1. Steve Winfield (Lifer) - May 6, 2021 8:04 am

    I don’t want to be first.
    Not sure who she helped the most, the mom or the boy? That young mom is bubbling like an Alka-Seltzer inside seeing her son so happy. Best feeling possible is to see your kid, (or step kid), really happy.
    My 11 yr old step daughter got invited to the fair last weekend. I gave her $60 & she grinned like a mule eating briars. How come my phone’s always in the other room?
    She’s a spoiled brat & it’s my fault but I sure feel terrible seeing other parents tell their kids, “No, we’re broke”.

  2. Sandi. - May 6, 2021 8:06 am

    I choose to believe that there are a LOT more kind, good, generous people in this world than there are mean, evil ones. Your post highlights three of the good ones Thank you, Sean, for telling us about Miss Reba, Marc and Samantha, who are most assuredly among the kindest.

  3. Jo Ann - May 6, 2021 10:44 am

    There are so many people out there, going around quietly doing good things for other people, usually strangers. No boasting, no publicity, just trying to do something for someone else. Gives us a warm feeling inside. Thanks, Sean, for telling us about those good people we wouldn’t hear about otherwise.

  4. eliza - May 6, 2021 10:51 am

    Please more of this…

  5. Jean - May 6, 2021 11:15 am

    I got to the line that started, “She bought a Microsoft….” and I broke into sobs. Can’t explain it. Maybe because I’ve been that single mother in my past and know the feeling.

  6. Betty Martinez Lowery - May 6, 2021 11:31 am

    Beautiful! Nothing like waking up and having a happy cry to start your day! Thank you, Sean.

  7. Marilyn - May 6, 2021 11:46 am

    God knows we need to have positive reinforcement each and every day. Thank you for the uplifting stories. After reading your daily story and God’s word, we can go about our day with a happier heart.

    • chip plyler - May 6, 2021 2:47 pm

      Amen… I read my devotion in the early morning and then I read Sean – some days the Lord speaks to me thru my devotion and some days the Lord speaks to me thru Sean –

  8. Kay Britton - May 6, 2021 12:13 pm

    I hope there is room for more people in that boat.

  9. Ronnie Thomas - May 6, 2021 12:37 pm

    I cannot wait each morning to open my inbox and see your article/lesson for the day.. you are the bright spot in an otherwise crappy year. You remind us of what is really important and how small gestures can have a huge impact! Thank you for starting my day on the right foot!

  10. Candy - May 6, 2021 12:57 pm

    Hi, Sean. My mother grew up in a family of five children during the depression. She ended up being a doctor in Tampa. Getting there was a life and death journey. One day she came home in a taxi from her job at the hospital. Dad asked, ” Where’s your car ?” Mom replied, “I gave it to my technician.”
    Dad just shook his head and chuckled.
    My former college roommate and I read your column every morning then we call each other — thanks to cell phones. Your words jump start our morning hour long talks. She’s in chemo at MD Anderson. Thanks for your valuable contributions to our gabfest.

  11. Heidi - May 6, 2021 12:59 pm

    Many years ago, when you had to be in a lottery for a Cabbage Patch doll, my oldest daughter asked for one for Christmas. That’s all…just the doll. I was a single mom of 3 kids working at a wholesale nursery in the distribution department. It was impossible to get that doll. As Christmas approached I was heartbroken. Unbeknownst to me, my old, bachelor, distribution manager had put out a call to his truckers. A couple days before Christmas, old Dick came in with a beautiful Cabbage patch doll, in the box and everything….that a trucker had brought from Arkansas.(I was in CA) The trucker and his wife had no kids and wanted to make a little girl happy. Oh, she was SO HAPPY! My kids grew up with that story. It was the miracle of goodness and Christmas. It shaped our family.

  12. Liz Watkins - May 6, 2021 1:00 pm

    So many people doing God’s work on this beautiful Earth. They are so many Angels on Earth- ❤️🙏🏻🙏🏻❤️
    God’s peace and blessings to all❤️

  13. Jan - May 6, 2021 1:09 pm

    Now, you’ve got us all crying! God bless all those wonderful angels out there as Liz said, doing God’s work. And God bless you, Sean, for seeking these people out and sharing these wonderful stories.

    • Liz Watkins - May 6, 2021 1:14 pm

      AMEN, JAN😊😊

  14. Pam BISHOP - May 6, 2021 1:10 pm

    Me too

  15. Christina - May 6, 2021 1:36 pm

    Love shared gets multiplied.

  16. Mary Jo Matthew’s - May 6, 2021 2:04 pm

    A lovely way to add to my lovely day. I just found out the French exchange student we had live with us 15 years ago and her partner are expecting their first baby. Yippee. I’m going to be a Grandma
    And I will be needing Miss Reba’s recipe so I can introduce some Southern USA to Eastern Canada

  17. Leigh Amiot - May 6, 2021 2:06 pm

    Many days I can refrain from water works while reading your column, but not today’s!
    Love the stories Candy and Heidi shared as well.

  18. Charlotte Lea - May 6, 2021 2:31 pm

    Teared up myself

  19. Shelton A. - May 6, 2021 2:42 pm

    Thanks for showing all the good in this country when all the news can find is what wrong. God bless you and Jamie, Sean.

  20. Myra Walters - May 6, 2021 2:59 pm

    This morning is tough for our family, but mainly our 39 yo daughter who’s at MD Anderson having a 3 month ultrasound hoping for it to be clear. I’m already a mess and reading your story has lifted my heart. Today and everyday I pray for healing and for everyone’s hearts to always love and pray for each other!

  21. Patricia Gibson - May 6, 2021 4:12 pm

    God bless people like this❤️

  22. Chasity Davis Ritter - May 6, 2021 4:58 pm

    The kindness of others often gives me leaky eyes too and I’m glad you share the stories we never would have known about. It often makes me want to be better myself. Thank you for the inspiration.

  23. Linda Moon - May 6, 2021 5:17 pm

    Good is often God with an added “o”. Those who are good are doing God’s work, aren’t they. You formed good words for us today. But, it took me a while to “get” the play-on-words in the title of your post. You are good, Sean, sometimes like the capital “G” One. Somebody is always doing good somewhere, and I was with a few of them yesterday, boating on a beautiful river!

  24. MAM - May 6, 2021 5:17 pm

    I cried harder than ever over this one. Not sure why, except I remember the first time we moved. We brought out stuff to the new town on a Saturday, and my husband headed out to drive back to get the rest. It would be a 3-day round trip. I had the checkbook; he had all our cash. I went to the bank Monday ready to transfer what little we had and was told it would take a week. I bawled right there in the bank. I had our less than a year-old baby and NO cash to buy any food for her or me. I put on my “big girl” pants, went to the school where he would be teaching, and told them my sad story. They had interviewed him by phone and had never met him, and here was his wife asking for an advance. The secretary gave me $20 out of petty cash, and 50 years ago, that was enough to buy some milk and basic food. I still remember how thankful I was! The day hubby returned he paid back the $20.

  25. Sandy Burnett - May 6, 2021 5:21 pm

    Goodness, tears and love often leave us without words. The ones you used before you became speechless told the story well. Thank you for tears of joy this morning!

  26. Linda Moon - May 6, 2021 5:31 pm

    To Myra and Candy: I seldom comment to others on this Post. I travelled 667 miles to M.D. Anderson for surgery and many times later on for follow-ups. It is an outstanding Cancer Center. HOPE and PRAYERS to you and yours.

  27. Jacquelyn Wolfe - May 6, 2021 6:23 pm

    My Mother in Love called them “Dressed eggs” instead of “Deviled eggs”! I had never heard that before her. And they were good too! We are so blessed by others as well!!!

  28. Rebecca Souders - May 6, 2021 7:03 pm

    I suspect you get asked a lot of seemingly silly questions. (Please don’t say “There’s no such thing as a dumb question. I’m a retired librarian; I know better.”) Would those questions fill a column for you?

    Here’s mine:
    Do you have a certain number of words you try to write every day?

    Thanks for your fine words, Sean. You give me smiles and tears and hurrahs every day …. all welcome!

    • Sandi. - May 6, 2021 10:53 pm

      Hi Rebecca, a couple of years ago Sean stated that he does adhere to a certain number of words in his daily posts like this one. Have a blessed day!

  29. Marsha Warren - May 6, 2021 7:47 pm

    Do you suppose Miss Reba would share her deviled egg recipe? I’m 83, too and I’m supposed to take them to my grandson’s graduation party on Saturday.. Marsha Warren, Chapel Hill, NC

    • Sandi. - May 6, 2021 10:57 pm

      Sweet pickle relish, mayonnaise, and a small amount of Dijon mustard are the ingredients. Using an electric mixer to beat the yolks with these three things is the secret to making the filling so fluffy.. And don’t use real fresh eggs, because they’ll be too hard to peel!

  30. Ann Bodiford - May 6, 2021 8:47 pm

    I love all of your stories. This one really touched my heart. I believe there are a lot of good people out there that are willing to help someone. May God bless you and all of the people you write about.

  31. W. Gary Smith - May 6, 2021 9:06 pm

    I try to be “Good”. Not long ago I was shopping in our community grocery store and kept passing an older (than me) lady and she was very sweet and communicative while shopping.
    She was looking at meats and vegetables very carefully many times putting items back she looked remised to do so.
    I made conversation with her and at the meat case she carefully looked at the ground beef and the chicken without placing in her cart.
    While at the check out she was behind me. No meat was in her cart but there was a 12 pk. of Bud light.
    After paying for my groceries I stood by and and gave the clerk my debit card and said pay for her groceries except the beer.
    She said thank you so much with tears in her eyes. Also that she was buying the beer for her husband who would not be with her very long and loved beer.
    I paid for everything including the beer and asked her if I did would she go back and buy meat and fresh produce to prepare for them when she got home?
    She with tears said “yes” and told me “God Bless You”.
    I almost waited to see if my goodwill action and request was carried through. But decided my purpose had been completed. It was then in God’s Hands.

  32. CSS - May 6, 2021 10:13 pm

    Thank you Sean for sharing these heartwarming stories (and for making me cry). I’ve always tried to “pay it forward” and help others. It’s such an inspiration to read stories like these because it makes me think, “am I doing enough”? “What more can I do to help others?”

  33. Lauren Lopez - May 7, 2021 1:02 am

    Thank you so much, Sean, for sharing these much needed stories in these days and times!!

  34. Suzi - May 7, 2021 2:51 am

    THIS, along with most of your columns should be the lead story for the 6am News, Noon News, 7pm and 11pm news. Heck, maybe even a couple of BREAKING NEWS episodes too!!!

  35. Kate - May 9, 2021 3:28 pm

    I so wish you were on the front page of every newspaper in this country and also on every opinion page and it was a requirement for every news/media program to read your column at the beginning and the end of their broadcast. And then maybe people would start realizing how many incredibly wonderful people there are in this world.

  36. Fred Frederick - May 12, 2021 1:23 am

    I think one word describes this particular column.
    The word is “wow”.
    Well done, Sean.
    Well done.


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