Light One Candle

Skip Navigation Links
Light One Candle
LOC Archive
For Editors

 

Tony Rossi                                      

Angels on Earth

Laura Schroff could have easily ignored the 11-year-old boy begging for spare change on the streets of New York City, but there was something compelling about his words, “I am hungry.” That day in 1986, she took young Maurice Mazyck for a bite to eat at McDonald’s, and that act of kindness changed both their lives and launched a friendship that continues to this day.

Schroff shared that story in her memoir “An Invisible Thread” and the 2015 children’s book “An Invisible Thread Christmas Story,” both of which went on to win Christopher Awards. More than that, those books resulted in people sending Schroff their own stories. Now, she is sharing many of them with the world in her latest book, “Angels on Earth: Inspiring Stories of Fate, Friendship, and the Power of Connection,” co-authored with Alex Tresniowski.

During an interview on “Christopher Closeup,” Schroff and I discussed several of those stories, beginning with that of Dru Sanchez, a mother from Tucson, Arizona, who was out shopping one day when she noticed a young woman with three children. She could tell this family was on a tight budget because the boy kept typing numbers into a calculator, and they would then put food back on the shelf if it was too expensive.

“In that moment,” said Schroff, “Dru remembered what it was like many years ago when she was a struggling mom, and she thought, ‘I can make a difference.’ So Dru went and bought a gift card, and brought it over to this young woman. And what she received in return was this extraordinary gift that she never could have anticipated: hugs from the woman and her children.”

Schroff also discovered new aspects of her friends’ lives in the course of writing this book. Case in point: Linda DeCarlo. Schroff recalled, “Linda and I worked together at People magazine, but it wasn’t until ‘An Invisible Thread’ came out that she sent me her story. At 17 years old, her stepfather threw her out. It was a cold, wintry day, and she rode her bicycle to the only place she knew where to go: her friend Cynthia’s home. Cynthia’s father, Irving, who was also living on a very tight budget, put his hand on her shoulder and invited her into their home. She lived there for over a year. He could have just as easily taken her to the police station or to a shelter, but instead he opened up his home, his heart, and his family to Linda.”

Schroff hopes that in reading “Angels on Earth,” people will recognize the power of simple acts of kindness: “When you reach out and touch another person, sometimes you see that immediate impact. But in the case of Dru Sanchez, she really doesn’t know the impact that she had. But the likelihood is that this woman and her three children will never forget this kindness.”

Schroff also believes that the people she’s written about offer a much-needed antidote to cynicism. She concluded, “There is so much goodness in our world, and we need to stop and celebrate that! Research shows that kindness is contagious. The more you do it, the more you want to do it. And when you incorporate kindness into your daily life – something as simple as saying ‘good morning’ to someone in your elevator or saying ‘thank you’ to the person who’s helped package your groceries – you’ll see that you’re going to live a happier, more purposeful life.”

 

For a free copy of the Christopher News Note, STORIES OF MODERN-DAY CHRIST-BEARERS, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: mail@christophers.org