CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I have a little favor to ask, though it's not really for me. It's for a special young man from Scott Depot named Timothy Merrill.
The favor I'm asking would increase Tim's workload, but his mom insists he'd be OK with that. Better than OK, actually. The extra work would make him happy.
Tim, who is 23 years old and has Down syndrome, has two chores he does to help around the house every day. One is to get the newspaper, and the other is to collect the mail.
Tim's mom, Kathy Gwinn, told me that every day when Tim gets the mail, "He always looks through it and says, 'No mail for me.'"
So Kathy decided she'd try and do something to change that. She posted notes on both her personal Facebook page and the Down Syndrome of West Virginia page asking people if they'd mind sending a card to Tim.
The response so far has been heartwarming.
One lady said she was going to send him a card a month for the next year. A professor at Bridgewater State University, in Massachusetts, was having her class send Tim cards. A lady from Hawaii. A local elementary school class.
"When the mailman delivers the mail," Kathy said, "we have to read each card at least once, and some twice. To date, we have received 212 cards from 14 different states and 31 different cities in West Virginia. Some are handmade or have touching personal messages, two had Christmas music, another had candy.
"No one can even begin to imagine how much this has touched my heart for complete strangers to send so many cards to my son. This has been the most emotional experience for me, seeing the magic in his eyes as we read each card."
Kathy and I talked about how being the recipient of kindnesses from strangers can change a person in the most wonderful ways. And having her life changed by others was something with which Kathy was already familiar.