Contributed By Jackie Sagner

A little boy selling magazines for school walked up to a house that people rarely visited. The house was very old and run down and the owner hardly ever came out. When he did come out he would not say hello to neighbors or passers by but simply just glare at them.

The boy knocked on the door and waited, sweating from fear of the old man. The boy's parents told him to stay away from the house, a lot of the other neighborhood children were told the same from their parents.

As he was ready to walk away, the door slowly opened. " What do you want?" the old man said. The little boy was very afraid but he had a quota to meet for school with selling the magazines.

"Uh, sir, I uh am selling these magazines and uh I was wondering if you would like to buy one." The old man just stared at the boy. The boy could see inside the old man's house and saw that he had dog figurines on the fireplace mantle. "Do you collect dogs?" the little boy asked. "Yes, I have many collectibles in my house, they are my family here, they are all I have." The boy then felt sorry for the man, as it seemed that he was a very lonely soul. "Well, I do have a magazine here for collectors, it is perfect for you, I also have one about dogs since you like dogs so much." The old man was ready to close the door on the boy and said, "No boy, I don't need any magazines of any kind, now goodbye."

The little boy was sad that he was not going to make his quota with the sale. He was also sad for the old man being so alone in the big house that he owned. The boy went home and then had an idea. He had a little dog figure that he got some years ago from an aunt. The figurine did not mean nearly as much to him since he had a real live dog and a large family. The boy headed back down to the old man's house with the figurine. He knocked on the door again and this time the old man came right to the door. "Boy, I thought I told you no magazines."

"No, sir I know that, I wanted to bring you a gift." The boy handed him the figurine and the old man's face lit up. "It is a Golden Retriever, I have one at home, this one is for you." The old man was simply stunned; no one had ever given him such a gift and shown him so much kindness. "Boy, you have a big heart, why are you doing this?" The boy smiled at the man and said, "Because you like dogs."

From that day on the old man started coming out of the house and acknowledging people. He and the boy became friends; the boy even brought his dog to see the man weekly.

This simple gesture changed both of their lives forever.

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Fireman Billy

Created on 27 January 2011
The 26-year-old mother stared down at her son who was dying of terminal leukemia. Although her heart was filled with sadness, she also had a strong feeling of determination. Like any parent she wanted her son to grow up and fulfill all his dreams. Now that was no longer possible. The leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son's dreams to come true.

She took her son's hand and asked, "Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be once you grew up? Did you ever dream and wish what you would do with your life?"

"Mommy, I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up."

Mom smiled back and said, "Let's see if we can make your wish come true."

Later that day she went to her local fire department in Phoenix, Arizona, where she met Fireman Bob, who had a heart as big as Phoenix. She explained her son's final wish and asked if it might be possible to give her six year old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.

Fireman Bob said, "Look, we can do better than that. If you'll have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll make him an honorary fireman for the whole day. He can come down to the fire station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards! "And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform for him, with a real fire hat -- not a toy one -- with the emblem of the Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker like we wear and rubber boots. They're all manufactured right here in Phoenix, so we can get them fast."

Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his fire uniform and escorted him from his hospital bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck. Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it back to the fire station. He was in heaven. There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day and Billy got to go out on all three calls. He rode in the different fire engines, the paramedic's van, and even the fire chief's car. He was also videotaped for the local news program.Having his dream come true, with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so deeply touched Billy that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible.

One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and the head nurse, who believed in the hospice concept that no one should die alone, began to call the family members to the hospital. Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a fireman, so she called the Fire Chief and asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition.

The chief replied, "We can do better than that. We'll be there in five minutes. Will you please do me a favor? When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, will you announce over the PA system that there is not a fire? It's just the fire department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the window to his room?

About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital, extended its ladder up to Billy's third floor open window and 16 firefighters climbed up the ladder into Billy's room. With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and told him how much they loved him.

it his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and said, "Chief, am I really a fireman now?"

" Billy, you are," the chief said.

With those words, Billy smiled and closed his eyes one last time.
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