Three men from Milwaukee drove two hours to deliver hand-written Christmas cards to a terminally ill man they had never met.
Earl Minley woke up in a sour mood, battling dark thoughts and depression, WABC reported Saturday.
Then, Minley went online and read a story about a man named Gene Weittenhiller, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Minley learned that Weittenhiller, from Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, was very fond of Christmas.
The Christmas season was so important to the cancer patient that Weittenhiller had wished for Christmas cards to be mailed to his home on what might be his final holiday season with his family.
The story shifted Minley’s perspective on his own bad morning, and an idea came into the young man’s head.
“I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, I was just like, man, I was battling my own depression, stressing, and the first thing I saw when I went on Google, I seen his story, and I’m like, ‘Wow,'” Minley told WABC.
Minley called up two of his friends, Markeith Powell and Marqwain Givhan. The men bought gas and a handful of Christmas cards, and drove two hours until they reached Weittenhiller’s front door.
Weittenhiller and his wife, Linda, were stunned that three young men — strangers — drove all the way to their home to hand-deliver Christmas cards.
“He’s like, ‘Seriously?’ I’m like, ‘Ya, we didn’t have nothing to do today, and we just decided to come up here today to make you smile'” Minley said. “The smile on their face, it’s like they knew us already.”
The group shared prayer, hugs and tears as they poured over the Christmas cards together. The men had written encouraging words to Weittenhiller, wishing him a Merry Christmas.
The gesture meant the world to Linda and Gene, who have found it difficult to accept Gene’s diagnosis.
“We are each others’ best friends, travel buddies. We do everything together. That’s why I’m going to miss him so much,” Linda said, getting choked up.
Givhan said meeting the Weittenhiller family gave him a fresh perspective on life.
“It made us realize how precious life is. Like, the stuff we are going through ain’t nothing,” Givhan said.
The meeting was so meaningful to everyone involved that Minley and his two friends drove back to the Weittenhillers’ home a second time.
This time, they brought a framed photo that they had taken together during the first visit.
They also gave Linda a teddy bear with Gene’s voice recorded inside, for her to cherish when Gene is no longer around.
Now, these strangers are more than just friends. They are family.
Gene and Linda Weittenhiller are still receiving Christmas cards from around the world.
Cards can be mailed to: 410 20th Street, Prairie Du Sac, Wisconsin 53578.
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