A university professor began reflecting on the people who’d had a positive impact on his life. In particular he remembered a schoolteacher who’d gone out of her way to instill in him a love of poetry. He hadn’t seen or spoken to her in many years, but he located her address and sent her a letter of thanks.
A short time later, he received this reply: “I cannot tell you how much your note meant to me. I am in my 80s, living alone in a small room, cooking my own meals, lonely, and, like the last leaf of autumn, lingering behind. You will be interested to know that I taught school for 50 years and yours is the first note of appreciation I ever received. It came on a blue-cold morning, and it cheered me as nothing has in many years.” The teacher’s note brought the professor to tears—and then he began searching for others who’d shaped his life, just to say thanks.