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Courtesy of Carmen McGee
The note Linda Sprunger wrote to Luca McGee in response to Luca’s letter.

Strangers are brought together by school letters

– Several weeks ago, Linda Sprunger received a note in the mail, written in pencil from a student at Towles Intermediate School.

The author told Sprunger she and her husband, Steve, had nice names and were probably nice people and wished the couple a happy spring.

“I just thought (the note) was so sweet,” Sprunger said. “I was very touched by it.”

So touched, that she decided to write back.

She wrote the author, 7-year-old Luca McGee, to tell her how the note had brightened her day and her husband’s.

Luca received the card from the Sprungers, along with a doodle of her name, and knew she had done something positive for them.

“I felt really good, and I felt like I did something really good, too,” Luca said.

Luca and her fellow classmates at Towles chose names randomly out of the phonebook and wrote notes to the strangers with positive and encouraging messages. Their teacher, Erin Hansen, also included her own note to explain the project and provide contact information for the school.

Hansen said another teacher at Towles had suggested the idea, and Hansen decided to use it as a way to teach her students letter writing.

“It’s just another way for me to hit that standard and make a difference,” she said. “They were really excited about it.”

Henry Sack, 8, chose to write to a man named James because Henry’s middle name is also James. He told James to have a good day and a good year.

James later emailed Hansen to tell her how much he and his elderly mother-in-law enjoyed Henry’s note. He said Henry’s kind words brought a smile to his and his mother-in-law’s hearts.

Hansen said even she has been surprised at how just a couple sentences and a 47-cent stamp can make a difference.

“You have no idea how your words have made this stranger’s day better,” she said.

Even though Sprunger has never met Luca, it turned out the two weren’t exactly strangers. Luca’s mother, Carmen McGee, manages Joseph Decuis restaurant in Roanoke and has known the Sprungers for years as customers.

Sprunger said she has never met Luca and didn’t know she was Carmen’s daughter at the time. It was only later through a mutual friend that Carmen realized the letter Luca received was from Sprunger. Sprunger said she wrote back because she thought Luca should be recognized for her kind deed. She also praised Hansen for the project.

“What a great teacher to go out of their way to bless the day of a stranger,” she said.

sarah.janssen@jg.net

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