Two days before Christmas, Pat Gallagher heard a sound at her door and noticed a red-hooded figure hurrying away. When she checked her front door, she found a quart-sized mason jar filled with money that the person had anonymously left for her.
"It was so heavy it took two of us to carry it inside," said Gallagher, who lives alone on Allen O'Neill Drive. She brought it in with the help of her friend Phyllis, but she was unable to find out who left the surprise gift.
"We asked around but nobody could tell us who might have sent it. Everybody was delighted with the story of this unexpected Christmas gift," she said.
In April 2009, Gallagher was diagnosed with demyelination of neurons in her brain, which affected her eyesight and walking, making it difficult for her to drive or work. "My life changed overnight," she said. Gallagher crafted a dream board with photos of herself from her younger, healthier days to encourage herself to get better. "I set out to regain complete health of mind, body and spirit."
Gallagher plans to count the money after the New Year, but she estimates that it contains $25 to $50. She checked the local churches, the Country Club of Darien where she used to work, and Trader Joe's , where she is known as the Lollipop Lady for handing out lollipops to employees that help her with her shopping. Nobody had any idea who could have left the money.
"It's as if God is saying that this is the beginning of a healthy, renewed you," she said. Despite any problems she might have, Gallagher remains a warm and optimistic person. "The message I always try to give people is that things work out, and we should be joyful about what we have, how blessed we are and things that are coming."
She hopes that her story will encourage others to share and help out their neighbors. "I want the donor to know what joy it brought into this home. In sharing, we give joy to others, and we increase the joy in our own lives," she said.
Do you know who could have left the money at Pat Gallagher's house? Have you heard of any similar stories of people stepping up and bringing joy to their neighbors? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
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