I remember several years ago doing a blog post on Hershey’s candy bars in connection to my mother’s love of them. She always had some stashed around her house or apartment. It was a pleasure she looked forward to each night.
Apparently mom was not alone. Bob Williams of Long Grove, Iowa was in the habit of eating a banana, half a chocolate bar, and a glass of milk each day. He is 94 years young this year and famously known throughout this small Iowan town of Long Grove (850 residents) as simply “The Candy Man.”
It started small…really small. One day at the Dollar General instead of getting his one Hershey bar for the next day he got three. He had just seen a documentary on the expression “paying it forward” and he decided to give it a try. This time he bought three bars, kept one for his meal the next day, and gave the other two bars away to people passing by him at random. That was 6,000 Hershey bars ago.
“You’d think I’d given them keys to a new car…Honest to God these people were thunderstruck.”
“It made me feel warm and needed again…a feeling I wanted to keep.”
For 39 years Bob Williams taught psychology in nearby Davenport…today he makes weekly Saturday trips to the Dollar General...he buys 2 cases of Hersheys for $45 dollars on $5 dollar discount day. On these days he hands one bar each to the two cashiers and then one to the person behind him in line…before heading out to pass out the rest.
Hershey’s has recognized Bob for his warm-hearted, homespun philanthropy by sending him a check for $1500. On his last recent birthday (94) Hershey’s Incorporated sent a representative to his birthday party. He was told by the representative that Hershey’s considers him the “North Star” of chocolate kindness.
Bob was married to his beloved wife Mary Elizabeth for 68 years and loved giving her chocolates. She died in 2012 at the age of 88. Every day he stops at a special bench with her name on it to visit and just talk with his wife.
When people stop and tell him he is doing this because “You can’t take it with you” he just smiles and replies: “You can take it with you…if you remember to also give it away.”
And what does he get in return. “Hugs…lots and lots of hugs…when you are 94 that’s the best gift of all.”
“A lot of people have said we need more sharing and smiling and patting people on the back,” Williams told the local newspaper The Register.
“I hope everybody picks up on that. We need to lighten up and smile a bit more. Share whatever you can with people. (And then with a grin) “There is no charge for that last bit of advice.”
Source: Title picture: Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images
A memory lane photo…was going through a shoe box of old cards and photos …and found this Valentines picture in a card from Eva Cate….so cute!