Touched by the kind­ness

Tampa Bay Times - - Floridian - Chris Harry worked for 27 years as a sports­writer for the Tampa Tri­bune and the Or­lando Sen­tinel. He now works in the Univer­sity of Flor­ida ath­let­ics com­mu­ni­ca­tions depart­ment.

in­clud­ing the trip to Paris, a mink coat, per­fume, lin­gerie, lug­gage, cos­tume jew­elry, shoes, socks, a hat, a dress, a hand­bag, bed linens and wool blan­kets.

None of those de­tails have any­thing to do with Jeff, but they fur­thered our in­trigue as to how in the World Wide Web this footage even ex­isted, much less was dis­cov­ered. My brother re­turned a di­rect mes­sage on Face­book to Jeff, ask­ing that very ques­tion, as well as ask­ing how they knew each other and beg­ging for­give­ness for not re­mem­ber­ing.

Jeff re­sponded.

“No apol­ogy nec­es­sary as we don’t know each other. I just for­ward videos that I watch as a tiny kind­ness so they can be shared with fam­ily and friends. Been do­ing for about 6 years now and it’s been a gift to me to be able to bring a smile or com­fort to oth­ers. Take 2 min­utes. Not ev­ery episode of ev­ery game show is yet on YT, but if I come across your dad on The Big Pay­off, I will be sure to send that to you as well. Be well.”

Some­where in Ven­tura, Calif., my brother’s jaw hit his hard­wood floor. He wrote back.

“Jeff, I’m kind of speech­less. I guess I’m also cu­ri­ous how you put to­gether my dad’s name with mine. But I don’t want to ques­tion kind­ness. Your lovely ac­tion has touched our fam­ily and helps us re­mem­ber a good man. I wish you a won­der­ful hol­i­day sea­son.”

Then came a more crys­tal­liz­ing ex­pla­na­tion.

“Very long story short. I have life­long in­som­nia so I watch a lot of old game shows on YT when I can’t sleep (I work in hu­man ser­vices so I see the worst of this world cou­pled with the best of this world — strong and re­silient peo­ple hav­ing to en­dure so much pain but over­com­ing so much ad­ver­sity). About 6 years ago, I de­cided to put it to good use and it’s been worth ev­ery sec­ond to bring a smile to some­one’s face, joy to their heart or com­fort to their soul. I al­ways try to send to the ac­tual con­tes­tant first, but if they have passed away, then I for­ward to fam­ily mem­bers, too. He men­tioned his dad’s name and where he lived, so I found you very eas­ily. I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like your dad was a won­der­ful man, hus­band, dad and pa­triot. It is my ab­so­lute plea­sure to be able to be a bless­ing to some­one do­ing a teeny kind­ness. I hope this video can be like a com­fort­ing hug that you can wrap your­self in when you’re miss­ing him. Thank YOU for your gra­cious words and kind wishes.”

My fa­ther was all these things Jeff sur­mised, and so much more. The video, as he sus­pected, was a com­fort­ing hug.

Here’s hop­ing ev­ery­one who reads this has a messenger an­gel like Jeff come into their lives. Or bet­ter yet, can be one for some­one else.

Cour­tesy of the Harry fam­ily

Navy Sea­man Ralph Harry, circa 1952, when he was about 22.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.