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June 19 , 2011

The Kindest People Who Do Good Deeds, Volume 7: 250 Anecdotes


Marlo Thomas once asked her father, the comedian Danny Thomas, if he had ever been in the army. He replied that for a year he had served as an entertainer in North Africa, Europe, and the Pacific with Marlene Dietrich. Marlo said, “Oh, so you weren’t a real soldier.” Her father replied, “No, we didn’t carry the guns, but we helped heal the boys who did. You know, Mugs [Marlo’s nickname], right after the Red Cross comes the U.S.O.” Danny was a kind person. When Marlo was in college, she dated a man named Jimmy Pugh, who was studying to be a dentist. Even after Marlo stopped dating him in order to go to New York to become an actress, Danny stayed close to Jimmy, who often came to Danny’s house for conversation. One day, Danny walked with Jimmy to Jimmy’s car after their visit was over. Jimmy had parked his car in the back because it was a “heap.” When Danny saw the wreck of a car, he said, “You’re going to be a dentist! You can’t let anything happen to your hands. You’ll beak every bone in your body in this wreck!” Danny happened to have a new pickup truck—the result of doing a favor for a company. He gave the truck to Jimmy, saying, “Here, take this. I’ll never drive it.” Danny kept the gift quiet—Marlo learned about it in a letter that Jimmy sent her after Danny died.

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Some samples: 1) Blues singer Muddy Waters first heard his voice on a recording in the early 1940s. His impression of his voice was positive; afterward, he said, “I thought, man, this boy can sing the blues. And I was surprised because I didn’t know I sang like that.” 2)At age 13, William F. Buckley was sent to an English boarding school, where…

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