Editor’s Note: The Kindness of Our Readers

Editor-in-cheif Liz Vaccariello reflects on her daily ritual of opening emails from readers.

By Liz Vaccariello
Also published in Reader's Digest Magazine August 2014

august editors letter lizMelanie Dunea/CPI for Reader’s Digest

Every morning, at 7:30 sharp, I read the most important e-mails of my day, the ones I receive from you. I’ve developed a name for some of them: lessons in kindness.

After we ran “Plane Crash in the Wilderness” (January 2014), a woman wrote to me. She noted that parents Donald and Rosemarie Evans had been unable to work due to their grievous injuries, and she wanted to donate $500 to “brighten their spirits.” How could she get a check to the family?

In “The Caring Janitor” (May 2014), we told of everyday hero Miguel Alvarez, who stayed and tended to 19 elderly patients who were abandoned after their nursing home was forced to close. Four readers asked us where they could send a check for Miguel, a father of two.

For our June issue, Alfred Geeson wrote a winning 100-word true story called “Sing to Me,” in which he wondered who would sing “Danny Boy” at his funeral, since he has no living children. The response has been extraordinary. Here are just a few of the letters we’ve received:

■ “Dear Liz: Please connect me with Mr. Geeson and let him know that all he has to do is have someone contact me when the time comes, and I will gladly fly to Georgia and sing at his funeral.” Allen Landers

■ “Dear Liz: I happen to be an Irish tenor in Chicago, and one of my specialties has been singing ‘Danny Boy.’ I would certainly sing for Mr. Geeson.” Martin McCormack

■ “Dear Liz: I don’t think I’m the right person for such an honor, as I hope a singer with a lovely voice will volunteer. But if no one does, I want Mr. Geeson to know that I would sing.” Sonya Watts

Alfie did not see it coming, this outpouring of love from strangers. But I know you. I did.

-Liz, @LizVacc, Liz@rd.com