Iowa has a 94-year-old candy man

Here’s your daily dose of sweetness:

Bob Williams, 94, of Long Grove, Iowa, was struck years ago by the “pay it forward” campaigns. A former teacher and newspaperman, Williams was also a big fan of chocolate bars. So he started buying an extra one or two to give away to people he met in his town.

“You’d think I’d given them keys to a new car,” he tells the Des Moines Register. “Honest to God, these people were thunderstruck.”

That was 15 years ago. There are 500 candybars in his refrigerator now. He buys two cases a week. He’s given out over 6,000 candy bars in a town of just 850.

“I’ve only had three people decline in 15 years,” he said. “One was a little girl in the store with her dad. On the way out, I complimented her father for training her right — to suspect old men.”

That’s not depressing at all.

A few days ago, the Hershey company handed out chocolate bars all over the country in his honor. They also gave Bob $1,500.

“I came out smelling like a rose,” he said.

“And I get a lot of hugs. I’m 94. So those hugs are welcome.”

There’s a larger message here in times that can be caustic and divisive.

“A lot of people have said we need more sharing and smiling and patting people on the back,” he said.

“I hope everybody picks up on that. We need to lighten up and smile a bit more. Share whatever you can with people. There is no charge for that last bit of advice.”

  • Gary F

    This made up for last Friday’s lack of a feel good story of the day. A few days late, but well worth it.