The Kindness of a Stranger

| March 11, 2011

All too often, we forget how important small acts of kindness are to those around us. Today, I received a forwarded e-mail in my Inbox. Now, I don’t usually read this…I’ve been trained to regard these mass e-mails as pointless spam. However, this e-mail was only two people deep, and I trusted the sender who forwarded it to me. She works for a local nonprofit animal rescue–the one I interned for before graduating. A volunteer sent her this message, after learning of the story from a family friend.

Read the words from the mother and see the impact this postal worker’s random act of kindness had on a small child.

“We don’t know who replied, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office of the US postal service.”

Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month. The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so, and she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her. She likes to swim and play with balls. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.

Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, ‘To Meredith’ in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, ‘When a Pet Dies.’ Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized her right away.

Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.  I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I’m easy to find. I am wherever there is love.



Whether you believe in God or not, I think we can all appreciate how much this meant to that little girl. As children, it’s hard for us to grip the reality of death. I know my first experience with death was losing a childhood pet to old age. I just didn’t understand why death exists or what I was feeling. This “letter”, in some small way, helped this little girl grieve and move on.

Have you performed a random act of kindness lately?

“Too often we under-estimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, a honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” -Dr. Felice Leonardo Buscaglia

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