A Tale for Thanksgiving: ‘In My 17 Years as a Reporter, No Story Has Ever Produced This Kind of Response…’
Sometimes, being able to recognize the gifts that have been bestowed upon us and others is the greatest blessing of all. Below is the story of one man and what can be accomplished with the gifts of freedom and free will.
…”He stood patiently, a quiet man who looked slightly embarrassed, as if struggling to find the right words. Finally, he just stuck out his hand and thrust a crumpled check forward.
$100. Nearly half his weekly paycheck.
“Give this to him,” Rondy Nix said. “To Bill Porter.”
Half a paycheck.
Four days before Christmas.
Nix shrugged. “He deserves it. I thought about giving him $20, or $50. But then I thought I could get by with $100. I’m not a rich man. That’s a lot of money.”
Nix searched for more words.
“I’m just a janitor; I do cleanup,” he said. “I’m not sophisticated or anything. I’m a simple man. Let me try to put it in terms you can understand. I look at Bill Porter, and I see that I can try and do better myself.”
And with that, Nix turned away and went back to work…
Two years ago, The Oregonian told his story. And then something amazing happened.
Until then, hardly anyone really knew Bill or his story. If anything, Portlanders recalled him only as the odd man who shuffled along the downtown transit mall, the strange man they spotted trudging through neighborhoods.