“X-Mas Favor”

Anyone out there want to send a christmas card to an old dying man?

So here is the deal. About 4 years ago my shop van died and I needed a new $H!*%box van to use for my shop. I found a 1989 Dodge Caravan on Criaglist and had Marty at Geekhouse drive me down to Providence to see the van. The van was owned by this old couple, that were a little run down and the van looked pretty beat too, with many thousands of miles on it [200].

Marty thought I was crazy to buy the van, but I did and the couple seemed that they were going to miss it. The van was beat, but I drove it for many years and put lots of miles on it and even made some risky cross country road trips with it.

Ever since then I would get a christmas card from “Al…the guy with the van”. They must have been pretty lonely to send a card to a kid that bought an old used van, but I remember they looked pretty poor and lonely then. So I would send a card back each year.

So this year I get a sad card and letter from Al, telling me about his bad year. His wife Arlene [of 32 years] died and he had throat cancer and was treated with chemo, then later got colin cancer and he is pretty much done 😦

He asked if I could send him a card. I just did and will probably be the last one. He must have no body, to write to a guy that bought a used van many years ago 😦

So I thought, maybe…just maybe that someone else out there might have the time to send a card to a complete stranger to cheer him up.

All you have to say is:

Hi Al,

I am a friend of Mike “The guy that bought the van”. He told me you were having a hard time, so I thought I would say Happy Holdays!

Albert Dandeneau

10 Tell St. 1st Fl    Providence, RI   02909

Just thought I would post this. You never know who might feel like doing a little something.

Thanks, Mike


About antbikemike

Bicycle frame builder
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54 Responses to “X-Mas Favor”

  1. Dave Talsma says:

    Hi, the card off to Al.
    I had a friend who died this last year at 92, I have been helping him build ukuleles for all his grandkids for the last 10 years or so. His death hit me hard, very nice guy who lived alone, and I think his interest in building instruments kept him going for the last few years. He would bring them over for a critique from me, they got better with each one.

  2. Ely says:

    I just sent one off. Sounds like a good man. Merry X-Mas to you too Mike.

  3. dreamlet says:

    Just sent Al a card. I’m a bit of a scrooge myself but what a great opportunity to spread a bit of Christmas cheer. Thank you for the suggestion. I hope it puts a smile on his face.

  4. o.cubed says:

    Sent Al a card today – hope he enjoys getting it as much as I enjoyed sending.
    o.cubed (old, overweight, and out-of-shape)

  5. meligrosa says:

    +off I sent it. bart simpson stamp included. so nice of you to share this with us =)

  6. JORGE says:


    Sent a picture of a garden in my cowntry (Portugal) to cheer him up.

  7. e.5.charlie says:

    all of us at the office just fired some off.
    good looking out.

  8. Daniel says:

    Card went out today.

  9. I just sent him a note, as well. What a lovely thing to suggest! Thank you, sir!

  10. Annalisa says:

    This is a fantastic idea. Consider it done, Mike.
    And happy holidays to you and your family, too.


  11. Patricia says:

    card sent – I love sending cards out at this time of year….. Happy Holidays to you and your family Mike.


  12. BikerTim says:

    Thanks Mike for the post – I’ve spread the word among friends to help Al have a little cheer for the holidays. Card and maybe a Holiday Basket will be on their way by week’s end.



  13. Seth Vidal says:

    card sent.

  14. julie says:

    great idea – sent a card tonight

  15. antbikemike says:

    Thank you to everyone 🙂 I am pretty sure Al will be very suprised!

  16. Xue says:

    mailing one out tomorrow!

  17. Patrick J. says:

    Hey Mike, It’s so good to see you continuing to create such excellent work, both with the file and torch, and with your heart.

    Remember driving to D.C. in the $300 diesel Rabbit? Good times.

    God bless Al.

    Keep on.

  18. john cully says:

    card sent. this opportunity is a bigger gift to me than it is to al….happy to take a few minutes and hopefully brighten his day.


  19. Johna says:

    This is a really kindhearted thing to do. Mine has been sent. Thanks Mike!

  20. Pingback: www.brueckenheilige.de» Blogarchiv » Weihnachtsgeschichte

  21. Pops says:

    I’ll probably end up just like him if I’m lucky enough to make past 60. Me and my cat.
    I sent him $5. It ain’t much but I figure he could use that more than a fruitcake.

    Merry Xmas Ant Bike Mike -you gotta good heart.

  22. Don H says:

    Card is being mailed this morning. Glad I can help.
    Merry Christmas!

  23. Steven says:

    The card is in the mail and I’ve got a bunch of friends who have jumped on board as well. Best card I’ve ever sent!! Thanks for sharing Mike and I hope all is well in your world. Happy Holidays!!!

  24. Dave Kirk says:

    You’ve done a good thing here Mike. I know you didn’t do it for praise but you deserve it nonetheless.

    I sent out a car to Al today.

    More of this kind of thing would make all our lives better. Thank you.


  25. Wayno says:

    Mike: Wow…this is great…thank you for thoughtfully sharing this…I’ve sent a card…and I’m spreading the word around. Imagine the mail carrier’s surprise as he’s delivering all these cards…it might even have a spillover affect to the neighborhood… Happy New Year! – Wayne Maceyka

  26. Andrew Israel says:

    I am a fan of your bikes Mike. I love your idea. This a very great lovely way
    to honor a fellow man.

    This reminds me of a poem:

    This morning I’ve been thinking

    How much I love the way some men

    Keep working with their bills. You’ve been

    Alone in the woods, heard that knocking sound

    Far off. It’s one of them.

    If you’re going to follow your beak

    Back to childhood, then the food you’re looking for

    Will be far beneath the bark. The beak is so

    Close to the brain that some men will want to

    Call the whole thing off.

    Men who work like this sometimes live in acres

    Of scrub trees. I like that cheerful sound.

    “Not many people here.” “Woodpecker

    Friend, call me or I’ll call you. How’s

    That wood?” “Hard but wormy.”

    Robert Bly

  27. kate says:

    Sent a card to Al today 🙂 also, g-chatted to everyone I could to send Al a sweet ditty!

  28. Kevin g says:

    Thanks for doing this…glad to help.

  29. Keith says:

    This is posted on the Serotta forum and there are a number of us that are sending a card to Al. Thanks for posting this request and for thinking of your friend Al. Hopefully this will give him a little holiday cheer.


  30. Jim says:

    Another card sent–great idea Mike!

  31. Erik says:

    I just got my school involved he should expect anywhere from 400-5000 cards.

  32. Calypso says:

    Done. Thanks for sharing the story…

  33. Random redditor says:

    Hey Mike.
    We are having a tough Christmas but we have each other.
    Glad you did this.
    Sent him a fancy tower of boxes of fruit.

  34. Jenny says:

    Saw this on Boston Biker Blog…sent out a card this morning!

  35. Ryan says:

    My wife and I sent our card to Al this morning. It shows us in Tahoe, California after cutting our tree.

  36. Matt says:


    Al’s going to need to stay strong so he read all his cards

    I just made up a card from all of us at Seven


  37. Susi Ecker says:

    Hey Mike,
    Everyone where I work sent out a card to Al as well!

    • antbikemike says:

      Thanks! This is all so amazing. There are so many people that have joined in on this. I think Al is going to be very busy reading cards. I hope it keeps his mind busy.

  38. Maile Krumpschmidt says:

    Thank you so much for the story! I’ll be sending out a card for him tomorrow.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

  39. thekeeb says:

    Hi Mike. Thanks for sharing this. Saw it on the phish phantasy tour site. A friend shared the link….We sent ours off this morning with a picture from my daughter. We are also from RI. It was nice to spread a little holiday spirit and I hope through your efforts Al feels love and hope this holiday season.


  40. Angela says:

    Sending Al a card from San Diego tomorrow! Hope the love helps.

  41. dustyvt says:

    Thanks, Mike! So incredible what you have done here. I just threw a card in the mail with a long note. This is one of the most inspiring and heartfelt gestures I have ever seen.

  42. Lyen says:

    Thanks Mike for a wonderful reminder of what the holidays are really about. I sent him a card of my 3 month old daughter making faces at Santa.

  43. okayalright3 says:

    Theres at least 100+ cards coming from a Phish forum:


  44. Joe S says:

    Saw the update on Boston Biker. Sending Al some photos from the Cape for the New Year.

  45. Buddy Wheeler says:

    Your post got linked on the phish messageboard and A bunch of us phish fans sent letters and at least one person got a letter back:


    I’m your Pal, Al the van-man. I’m the one who sold the van to Mike. He is a wonderful man for what he has done for my life.

    I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the beautiful card and kind words. I never thought there were people like you and others that Mike told to send me cards. You and the others are very special people in the world. You don’t even know me or met me but yet you took time out of your life to be kind to a stranger. After everything I’ve been through and still going through with my cancer, I just didn’t care anymore and was ready to give up. With people like you and what you have done has brought my spirits back and look forward to life. What hurts worse was losing my wife of 32 years, but now I know that Arlene would not want me to quit now but to do my best and go forward. Thanks to people like you and thoughts of her, I know I’ll make it. I’ve got my good spirits back.

    Well, I’ll close for now and again, I want to thank you and all of Mike’s friends for being so kind to a stranger and giving me my life back. In the future, if you have a few moments, please drop me a line and let me know what is giong on. I will answer you cause I have nothing else to do (HA-HA-HA)

    “May God bless you and your family and keep you healthy and safe”

    Your Pal- “Al” the Van-man

    Then he wrote:

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the beautiful package. Believe it or not, I was on my way out when the package arrived to pick up some sweets. Today is Christmas Eve and I wanted something for Christmas Day. I opened it up and there is exactly what I wanted, cookies. Even better, homemade. YUM-YUM. Thanks to my friend Mike, I am having the best Christmas ever. I never thought my Christmas this year would turn out so special. I have received over 300 Christmas cards from all over the US and Canada too. I even got one from Honolulu, HI. I now have new friends and a new family and a new outlook on life. WOW! With people like you, I know I will make it.

    Love and friendship always,

    here’s the link to the thread: http://phantasytour.com/bands/1/topics/2566435/posts

  46. Pingback: “Xmas favor…again” | antbikemike

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