Twice Recycled

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Christmas

Sergio Del Bianco

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An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves.
~Lydia M. Child

My mother worked as a housekeeper, and she was given myriad leftover things when clients sorted through their junk, including used toys as well as many other goodies. My older sister and I always loved sharing the recycled books and board games that Mom brought home. We fairly divided everything.

One December day, an old-model toy car arrived in the load of goods. It was as long as my forearm and took both hands to lift. My sister didn’t want it, so it was all mine. I immediately began scrubbing it clean and polishing it to a bright candy-apple red. It was a thing of beauty, and I glowed as much as it did from pride of ownership.

Our relatives from France came to visit that Christmas, and my young French cousin fell in love with that wonderful, shiny red automobile. He’d been unlucky so far in life, suffering severe, life-threatening illnesses as a child and hurting himself badly earlier in the year when his bicycle careened into a plate-glass window. Already on this trip, he’d managed to break his eyeglasses when he accidentally slipped and fell on the icy sidewalk.

By now, everyone knew how I felt about the car, so nobody dared suggest that I give it to him. But, deep down, I knew it was the right thing to do. So, when they left, my red car went with him. Though I was crushed to see it go, my heart sang when I saw his beaming face as he tightly clutched it.

I still think about that car and miss it to this day. But with that beloved recycled Christmas gift, I bonded with my cousin for life.

Giving that gift showed me for the first time that it is better to give than to receive. It was the first gift that I gave that keeps on giving.

— Sergio Del Bianco —

Reprinted by permission of Chicken Soup for the Soul, LLC 2023. In order to protect the rights of the copyright holder, no portion of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent. All rights reserved.

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