Good Samaritans come in all shapes and sizes.
Hody Childress, who died on New Year’s Day at the age of 80, was one of those guys that had the good habit of leaving people better off than he found them.
A resident of Geraldine, Ala., Childress was known to bring apples, sweet potatoes, squash, or okra to the postmaster. In his mind, since God was blessing him on his farm, it only made sense to bless others in return.
But there was a secret or even sneaky side to Hody Childress, and only Brooke Walter, the pharmacist at the local drugstore, knew about it.
It all started back in 2012 when Hody came into Geraldine Drugs one day and asked to speak with Brooke. He took a folded $100 bill out of his pocket and slipped it into the younger woman’s hand. He explained to her that he wanted the money to help people struggling to pay for their medications. He knew the C-note wouldn’t go too far, but it was what he could do – and what he wanted to do.
“Don’t tell a soul where the money came from,” he told Brooke. “If they ask, just tell them it’s a blessing from Lord.”
Hody Childress wasn’t lying, of course. God regularly uses our hands and feet – and generous hearts – to fulfill His plans and purposes. He doesn’t need us – but it’s a blessing to us when we are used by Him.
It seems Childress was motivated and inspired by his faith and his own story. Life hadn’t been all smooth sailing for the smiling, generous gentleman. Back in 1973, Hody’s son and father were killed in a tornado. His wife, Peggy, battled multiple sclerosis for year. At times, they struggled to pay for her medicine.
The elderly farmer wound up coming back to the pharmacy month after month, year after year, donating $100 each time. In fact, he only stopped coming when a breathing disorder late last year sidelined him.
Brooke Walter never struggled to find people in need, but with Hody’s permission, she occasionally called an audible and used the money to help others. One month it was a woman recovering from an abusive relationship. Then there was the man caring for his son with special needs.
“His kindness motivated me to be more of a compassionate person,” Walter acknowledged. “He [Hody] was just a good old guy who wanted to bless his community, and he certainly did. He established a legacy of kindness.”
Hody Childress’ daughter, Tania Nix, reflected, “If what he did could touch one person and let them know there’s still goodness in the world, it’s worth it. It’s what my dad would have wanted.”
Hody Childress recognized that the best way to be hopeful about life and the future is to be helpful and useful today. As Christians, we know it’s one of the great paradoxes of life that when you give, you often receive more benefit than the person you’re giving to.