Six-year-old Jimmy was an only child, and very spoiled. Every Christmas his list of toys for Santa increased, and every year his list would be fulfilled. You would think a boy who had everything would be happy, but he wasn't. Jimmy wanted more and more!
One afternoon, Jimmy stared out the living room window in anticipation. Christmas was a week away. Oh how he couldn't wait! He would finally receive that new bike he'd been dreaming about, and the new ultrasonic airplane with its real working engine! Jimmy continued to stare out the window, until something down the street caught his eye. It was a bright red and white vehicle pulling up to his neighbor's drive, with its flashers going.
"Hey mommy!" Jimmy called out. "What's that?"
His mother joined him at the window and peered out in disbelief. "It's an ambulance! Something must have happened at the Simpsons!"
Jimmy watched his mother scurry from the room to the telephone, where he could hear her frantic voice asking endless questions.
"What happened?" Jimmy asked, after she hung up the phone.
"Mr. Simpson had a bad fall and will be bedridden for awhile."
"Does that mean I won't get a gift from him this year?" Jimmy questioned.
"I don't know darling," she replied softly. "All I know, is we'll have to do our best to help them out."
"But I want my new truck he promised me!" Jimmy said, stomping his feet on the carpet.
Jimmy sat on the couch with a pout on his face. He didn't like Mr. Simpson anymore. He wanted his new truck!
His mother put on a happy face and sat down beside him. "I know what you can do that would cheer you up," she said.
"What?" Jimmy scoffed.
"I just baked a hot apple pie. Why don't you deliver it to Mr. Simpson? I think he would really appreciate it."
"Who wants apple pie? I want my truck!"
"Listen," his mother scolded. "Mr. Simpson is a sick, elderly man. Do something nice for somebody else for a change."
Jimmy got up from the couch with tears streaming down his cheeks. "Okay," he said, grabbing his jacket.
His mother handed him the warm pie plate and watched her son ride his bike to the end of the street. Jimmy knocked softly on the door as Mrs. Simpson opened it, smiling down at him.
"Oh my! What do we have here?"
Jimmy held out the plate. "My mommy made me do it," he replied.
"Why don't you come in Jimmy? Mr. Simpson would love to have some company."
Jimmy carried his gift into Mr. Simpson's bedroom. He was sitting up in bed reading a newspaper, with his leg in a cast.
"My goodness, Jimmy!" he chuckled. "What a pleasant surprise."
"My mommy made me do it," Jimmy said.
Mr. Simpson put his newspaper down and reached for the pie plate. "Did you know hot apple pie is my favorite?"
Jimmy stood in the middle of the room with a pout on his face. "I know something that will cheer you up. Why don't you grab that pen over there, and you can be the very first person to sign my cast."
"Really?" Jimmy perked up.
"Really," Mr. Simpson replied.
Jimmy grabbed the pen and very carefully signed his name in black ink. "That was fun!" he smiled.
"Well, the next time you come over you can do it again."
Jimmy ran home to tell his mother the good news. From that moment on, Jimmy got very busy helping his mother in the kitchen.
"I want to surprise him again!" he said excitedly.
A few hours later he showed up on their doorstep, this time with a plate of warm biscuits and apple cider.
Jimmy carried the tray into Mr. Simpson's bedroom and once again signed his cast. Over the next few days, Jimmy continued to deliver special gifts to Mr. Simpson and each time, he would sign his cast. Before long, the signatures covering the white bandages were scribbled in Jimmy's shaky handwriting.
On Christmas Eve Mr. Simpson looked Jimmy square in the eye. "Listen, son. What you have done over the last few days has meant more to me than anything else in the world. I'm sorry I wasn't able to buy you that shiny red truck you wanted for Christmas, but I made you something instead."
Jimmy, sat quietly on the edge of the bed as Mr. Simpson held out a small green box covered in ribbons. "This was made especially for you."
Jimmy unwrapped the package with his eager little hands. Lying on the bottom of the box, in white tissue paper, was a shiny brass medal which read:
"This medal of honor is dedicated to Jimmy,
and his excellent meals on wheels service."
Jimmy held the brass medal proudly in his hands. "Thank you," he said, wrapping his arms tightly around Mr. Simpson's neck. "This is the best gift ever!"
Mr. Simpson smiled back in return. "Christmas isn't about buying expensive gifts and receiving lots of toys. It's about giving the greatest gift of all, the gift from the heart."