During the Roosevelt era, times were tough to Bill Beasley in a small town in the Texas panhandle. So when he got the call that his son was ill in California and not expected to live, Bill didn’t know how he was going to get the money for his wife and himself to make the trip. Bill had worked as a trucker his entire life, but he never managed to accumulate any savings. He phoned a few close relatives for help, but they were no better off.
So it was with embarrassment and dejection that Bill Beasley walked the mile from his house to the filling station and told the owner, “The son is really sick,” he said, “and I’ve got no cash. Can you trust me for the phone call to California?”
“Pick up the phone and talk as long as you need to,” the owner replied. As Bill started to dial, he was interrupted by a voice asking, “Aren’t you Bill Beasley?”
It was a stranger, jumping down from the cab of a truck. The young man didn’t look familiar, and Bill could only stare at him with a puzzled look and say, “That’s right, I am.”
“Your son was one of my best pals when we were growing up together. When I went off to college, I lost all track of him.” He paused for a moment and then continued. “Heard you say he’s sick?”
“Real bad, from what we hear. I’m gonna call and try to make some arrangements for me and my wife to get out here.” Then, as a matter of courtesy, he added, “Have yourself a Merry Christmas.”
Bill walked into the office of the station and placed his call to the cousin on the West coast, informing him that he or his wife hoped to be out as soon as possible.
There was an obvious look of sorrow on Bill’s face as he assured the owner that he would pay for the call as soon as he could.
“The call has been paid for. That trucker – the one your son used to pal around with – left me a 20 and said to give you the change when the phone bill comes in. He also left you this envelope.”
Bill fumbled open the envelope and pulled out two sheets of paper. One read, “You were the first trucker I ever traveled with, the first my dad trusted enough to let me go along with when I was barely five years old. I remember you bought me a Snickers bar.”
The second sheet, much smaller in size, was a signed check with an attached message: “Fill out the amount needed for you and your wife to make the trip … and give your son, my pal, a Snickers bar. Merry Christmas!”