Thursday, November 15, 2001

Obituary: Percy Ross, flamboyant philanthropist -- Sad to see this guy go. I have a fond memory of being a child of about 8 sitting in a mall at Christmas time and waiting for my mom and sibs. In the balcony above my head a guy (Mr. Ross) said something to make me look up. I don't recall what he said, but then he dropped a $10 bill my way. I remember some other kids near me who had seen what he had done for me and went under the balcony and begged for the money. He dropped a couple of bills but seemed to be disturbed by the begging and he quickly left. I was able to buy a nice gift for my mum & dad and my grandma with the money. (Yeah, what do you expect an 8 year old to buy?? $10 was a lot back then! )

What has always stuck with me from that was that giving freely and without expectation of anything in return was a great thing to do. I remember how amazed and greatful I was, at the time, that someone would just give to another they didn't know without being provoked...and without wanting *anything* in return. It didn't matter if I was needy or not. It was just a gift with no strings attached. Well, he probably required a smile, but nothing more. :-) A great memory.

I tried to continue that feeling last year with the Holiday Hooligans. Where I (and quite a few others) purchased gifts for unknown people around the country through online wishlist registries. What better way to anonymously pass on the gift that Mr. Ross gave to me? The delight of an unexpected gift, freely given. Ahhhh. Holiday Hooligans is happening again this year. I've got the site *almost* ready for prime-time. It should be up by this weekend. I hope you join me again this year.