DEAR ABBY: On Sept. 14, 2017, you printed my letter about my ex-husband "borrowing" money from my 13-year-old son's piggy bank. Soon after, you reached out to tell me a gentleman (the founder of an organization that helps people who have been wronged) wanted to send my son twice the amount of money that had been taken from him. My son was humbled, to say the least. Not only did that gesture restore my son's faith in people, but he gained from it a friend who made a lasting impression.
Bill, the man who helped my son, told my son his own father took money from him when he was younger, which forced him to drop out of college. However, Bill didn't let that stop him from becoming a success in life. Decades later, he retired a wealthy man. In retirement, he started a philanthropic foundation and turned his own "adversity into opportunity" by reaching out to others less fortunate to make a difference.
We were devastated to learn recently of Bill's unexpected passing from a stroke. Our hearts are broken, but my son's is forever changed and filled with gratitude for having known Bill, even if only for a short time.
Abby, thank you for printing my letter three years ago. Without it, none of this would have been possible. We would also like to extend our sincere condolences to Bill's wife and family. His kind soul touched my son so deeply that his spirit will continue to live on. -- HOPING TO PAY IT FORWARD
DEAR HOPING: What a beautiful tribute to a man whose life was well-lived. I hope his family sees your letter. I have often said that Dear Abby readers are the most generous in the world. Bill was an example of that, and I am sure he will be greatly missed. I would like to extend my condolences to his grieving family along with your own.