20201201_loc_gift cards.jpg

BillieJo and Gordon Henry, of Sycamore, Greene County, have created a holiday tradition of handing out gift cards to complete strangers.

Editor’s note: This story is part of an occasional series in which the Observer-Reporter will highlight acts of kindness by community members throughout December.

Since before their 7-year-old daughter’s birth, BillieJo and Gordon Henry, of Sycamore, Greene County, have kept a Christmas tradition – they give out $25 Visa gift cards to random strangers.

“I can remember different times during my life when I was like, ‘Oh, it’d be so nice to have an extra $25 for this or that,’” BillieJo said.

If the Henrys go out to dinner, they’ll pick a table nearby and leave the gift card with someone. Or, if they’re in a grocery store, they’ll leave it with the next person in the checkout line.

“We put them in the little thank you card envelopes and write ‘Merry Christmas’ on it,” BillieJo said. “It’s just something we do as a tradition every year.”

Now, their daughter, Emma, loves to carry on the family tradition, of finding a random stranger to whom they “pay it forward.”

“We like to teach her that Christmas isn’t only about receiving gifts,” BillieJo said. “I think my daughter really likes it too, and it’s teaching her that it’s always better to give than to receive.”

To share a story about an act of kindness, email staff writer Katie Anderson at kanderson@observer-reporter.com.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. If you have a subscription, please Log In.