Tag Archives: stories

Day 250: Michael Raymer

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 12.19.30 AM

photo: inquisitr.com

Last week I heard about a touching story of a mail carrier in Glendale, AZ who left his customers handwritten notes (one of them is shown here) informing them that he was retiring at the end of the month and telling them how much he enjoyed getting to know them over the years.

You can check out the story for yourself here.



Today is Labor Day and I thought it would be fitting to drop you a note – you’ve certainly worked hard throughout your career and deserve a day off. Thank you for both your military and civil service to our country.

I created a custom card for Michael

I created a custom card for Michael

I read about your handwritten note to your mail customers – that was very thoughtful. I particularly appreciated it because not only did I grow up next door to a postal carrier, but I also am a big fan of handwritten correspondence.

Do you have any special stories you would be willing to share about your work as a mail carrier. I imagine over the past 20 yrs you must have had some good ones!

Best of luck in your retirement!
Reed Sandridge


Day 217: Anthony Foxx, Secretary of Transportation

Google's Doodle of the Day for August 5, 2015.

Google’s Doodle of the Day for August 5, 2015.

Good morning! If you search for something on Google today, you’ll seee their Doodle above which is paying tribute to the 101st anniversary of the first electric traffic light in the U.S. It got me thinking about something that has been bothering me for some time. Nobody likes a critique who doesn’t offer a solution, so I thought I would do just that and send a suggestion to our Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx. It might just make the roads a whole lot safer.

Day 217

Dear Mr. Secretary, 

101 years ago today the American Traffic Signal Company installed the U.S.’s first electric traffic signal system on the corner of East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. The anniversary of this event inspired me to write to you today.


Photo: LATimes.com

I’m colorblind and struggle deciphering traffic signals when it is dark and I can’t see the order of the lights. There seems to be a simple solution to this: create unique shapes for each color. Red could be a square, yellow a triangle and green a circle.

I know that some cities outside of the U.S. are experimenting with this (Quebec for example) – why don’t we start rolling this out as we replace signal lights? It just might save some lives.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
Reed Sandridge

Day 177: Dave

One of the reasons that so many people knew about my Year of Giving project was a beautifully told CNN story by David Banks. As I write my way through the Year of Letters, I remembered that Dave has sent me a note around the holidays every year since we’ve met. I thought it was time that I returned the handwritten kindness.

Day 177

Day 177-2Hey Dave,

It’s been five years since we’ve met and I think you’ve dropped me a holiday card each year – thanks! I know exactly how many I have sent you. ZERO. Sorry, I’m trying to be better at staying in touch. I wanted to say hello and wish you Patchaya and Tanjira a wonderful summer. I’m not sure how often you are downtown in DC, but let me know, it would be nice to catch up. People still mention the CNN story you did on the Year of Giving – you did a beautiful job telling that story!

Take care brother,

P.S. I saw your quote other day on FB from Albert Camus, “Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.” So true!

Day 156: Steve Hartman, CBS

Photo: CBS News

Photo: CBS News

Steve Hartman is one of the best. Every week he pulls back the curtain and introduces us to an extraordinary person – often tugging at our heartstrings and causing tears to well up in our eyes. To see some of Steve’s work, check out links on Day 143 and Day 147 – letter recipients who I learned about through his reporting.

I do a lot of work around storytelling and can assure you that Steve is a master. He knows how to craft a narrative that moves the audience to think, feel or do something and that is really the power of storytelling. We learn through story. We influence through story. And we entertain through story.

I’d love the opportunity to watch Steve work up close. Who knows, maybe, just maybe, that could happen and someday I’ll tell you a story about it.

Day 156-2

Dear Steve,

For me, it was the Jason McElwain story back in 2006 when you ended your touching report with, “Because he is autistic, Jason says he’s used to feeling different. But never this different. Never this wonderful.” I took note of your name and for the past decade I’ve been carefully collecting your stories.

You give your audience a gift every time you do a segment. You tell the kind of stories we thirst for, and you tell them with unparalleled artistic brilliance. You have my dream job! Uncovering and sharing meaningful stories that reflect the world we want to live in.

Day 156I crave narratives that strengthen the fabric of our community. In my pursuit to perfect my own storytelling, I would like to ask you to consider allowing me to tag along on a future assignment – a kind of apprenticeship if you will. I’d cover all my expenses, I’d just be extremely grateful for the opportunity. As Milton Berle said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Well, I’m building a door!

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and for considering what would be a chance of a lifetime experience for me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,
Reed Sandridge

Day 143: Michael Swaine

Photo: Darryl Bush

Photo: Darryl Bush

One of my favorite television journalists is Steve Hartman. When you turn on CBS and see him, you know that you are about to see a story that is going to touch your heart. He did a story in October of 2006 about a young kid with autism named Jason McElwain who became an unlikely hero on the basketball court.

Last night I saw a story he did on an art professor named Michael Swaine from San Francisco. Once a month for the past 15 years Michael pulls a cart with an antique sewing machine on it into the streets of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District and repairs and alters people’s clothes at no cost. He calls it the Free Mending Library. And while what he is doing is awesome in and of itself, the real value is how he is touching the community. The stories he sews are strengthening that community.

Day 143-2

Dear Michael,

I saw your story on CBS last evening – so inspiring. I love it. I looked you up online and found FutureFarmers.com – also amazing projects.

You are doing so much more than sewing – you’re mending a stronger fabric of community which is something we are thirsty for these days. I’d love to know more about other projects you’re involved with as I too am investing in projects that create meaningful community in unique and hopefully inspiring ways. Where’s the best place to follow what you are up to?

All the best,
Reed Sandridge