by Carol Thompson
Bob and Mary, the Oswego couple living off the equivalent of $30 a week in food stamps, won’t have presents under the Christmas tree next month.
They won’t even have a tree — but they have been blessed with the greatest gift of all.
“Bob got the job, he landed the job,” Mary said through tears Wednesday evening. “I can’t stop shaking. I’ve never felt so blessed.”
Bob traveled with a friend to Scranton, Pa. Nov. 13 to interview for a position as an IT director at a starting salary of $72,000 annually plus full benefits.
Late Wednesday afternoon, he received the call he had been praying for.
“We never expected it,” Mary said. “When Bob interviewed he was told they had already interviewed a dozen candidates and had a dozen more to do interview that week. It was very competitive and we figured they would hire someone from the area.”
The company will not only pay their moving expenses, but will assist with their housing expense for three months.
“One of my fears was that if Bob got the job we would have no money for moving and to pay a security deposit on an apartment,” Mary said. “We had made an agreement that if he got the job we would sell our wedding rings so that we could move. I don’t think we will have to do that now.”
Bob and Mary were the subjects of a Nov. 7 Valley News story and the outpouring of the community made it possible for the couple and their daughter to have a Thanksgiving dinner.
“We planned on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Thanksgiving dinner and we were able to buy a turkey and all the fixings,” Mary said. “We didn’t tell our story to get donations or sympathy. We told our story so that people would stop judging those using a food benefit card. We have so much to be thankful for and we feel truly blessed. Getting a new start on life and being able to have a Thanksgiving dinner because of your readers is the greatest gift we could ever ask for.”
Mary said she hoped the snide comment directed at her as she was cashing out her Thanksgiving meal purchases Wednesday evening was the last she would hear.
“I took my daughter shopping with me and she wanted a paper tablecloth with turkeys on it,” she said. “I’ve not been able to give her anything for over a year so I agreed. When I cashed out, I used my benefit card first and then handed the clerk cash. A man behind me said something about it being nice that I could afford the tablecloth and eat on his dime.”
Mary said her daughter immediately asked if she could still get the tablecloth.
“I was mortified that anyone would say something like that for a small child to hear,” she said. “I wanted to lash out at him but instead I told him may God bless him and may he never have to walk in my shoes.”
As she was wheeling her cart away, Mary heard the man tell the cashier that he couldn’t believe the things “people on welfare buy.” The cashier responded to him that she sees it all the time.
To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397