An inspiring story about the power of words:*
One wintry day, eight-year-old Myles Eckert and his mom Tiffany were hurrying Across a parking lot to a restaurant in their hometown of Waterville, Ohio. Myles glanced down and saw a $20 bill. Since there was no one around to return it to, his mom said, “I guess it’s your lucky day,” and let him keep it.
Inside the restaurant, Myles considered buying a video game, but then he saw a soldier and his wife sitting nearby. He asked for a piece of paper and wrote this note:
My dad was a soldier. He’s in heaven now. I found this $20 In
the parking lot. We like to pay it forward in my family. It’s
your lucky day! Thank you for your service.
Myles never had the chance to know his dad: Army Sgt. Andy Eckert. was killed in Iraq when Myles was only a few weeks old. But because every soldier reminds him of his dad, he decided to say thank you and “pay forward” his windfall to Lt. Col. Frank Dailey, an Ohio National Guardsman. Lt. Col. Dailey responded with a heartfelt, “Thank you. This is an honor!” and donated the money Myles gave him to charity. He was so touched by the note from Myles that he told his daughter, who shared the story on Facebook. Soon Myles was receiving $20 from strangers.
When he had a total of 50 $20 bills, he asked his mom to donate the money to Snowball Express, a charity that helps kids who’ve lost a parent in the line of duty. Soon, word of this donation made the local and national news and inspired more contributions, including a $1 million grant from a corporation. In the end, Myles and his thank-you note generated an incredible $1.8 million in support for the Snowball Express.
Lt. Col. Dailey, who’s become close to both Myles and his mom, continues to be inspired by the words Myles wrote: “I look at his note every day, and it gives my life direction.”
A piece of paper, a pen or pencil, a handful of simple, heartfelt words: This is all it takes for magic to happen. The words we write or say — or leave unwritten or unsaid — matter. Write on!
*This post was inspired by Taryn Phillips-Quinn’s story featured in Woman’s World magazine, January 5, 2015</em