Wish comes true with

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 28, 1999

return of photographs


Features Editor

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Dec. 27, 1999 11 PM

Christmas brings out the best in the worst of us.

Just think of the Grinch who tried to steal Christmas from all the Whos down in Whoville. He took away everything from their turkey bone to their toys and Christmas came anyway. When the Grinch saw that, his heart grew two sizes and he took back the toys and found a soft spot in his heart for Christmastime.

A similar story happened this Christmas and it’s worth repeating.

On Friday, The Messenger reported a story of a grandmother whose billfold was stolen while she was in x-ray at an out-of-town sports medicine facility.

Brenda Murphy was left stranded in a big city without the necessities of travel – money, credit cards and driver’s license. The administrator of the facility gave her enough money for lunch and gas for her trip home. However, he couldn’t stop the tears that flowed over her thoughts of having the photographs of her grandchildren tossed into a garbage can to be crushed and packed in a landfill somewhere.

The providers of her credit cards acted quickly to get their cards back in Murphy’s hands in time for her to "exercise" them on the brink of Christmas.

As Murphy went about her shopping, clinging tightly to her purse, images of her babies’ images lying among tangles of trash, haunted her.

"I don’t know why that bothered me so much but it did," she said. "I could get other pictures, so that wasn’t it. I just couldn’t stand the thoughts of them being tossed away like that."

Whoever that thief was that came stealing into the x-ray room that day, had a heart that was way too tight or maybe none at all, Murphy decided.

However, on the eve of Christmas Eve, Murphy got greetings from Uncle Sam in her mailbox.

"I opened my mailbox and there on top was my billfold, sealed in a plastic bag," Murphy said. "I just screamed. I couldn’t believe it!"

She ripped open the plastic bag and hurriedly unsnapped the billfold.

There, to her further surprise and delight, were the treasured photographs that had caused tears and restless nights.

"Everything was there – my pictures, my credit cards, my driver’s license, receipts – everything except my money," Murphy said. "But I didn’t care. I wished the thief as merry a Christmas as they could have on $26."

Murphy said she would like to think that, just like the Grinch, the spirit of Christmas tugged at the heart of the thief.

"Whoever took my billfold probably heard me sobbing in x-ray and felt sorry for me," she said, laughing. "I guess they took out the money and shoved the billfold in a mailbox somewhere. Someone at the post office must have looked inside and found my address and sent it on to me. This was the best Christmas present ever."

So, maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe it means, perhaps, a little bit more – "even to the thief in the x-ray room."