Christmas is still a couple of weeks away, but I’ve already received one gift this year and it didn’t come from any of my family or friends. In fact, it came from a complete stranger and I think it’s safe to say the gift was one of the most unusual I’ve ever gotten.

With my father out of town last weekend, I was asked to help out around the house and do what I could to keep my parents’ newly-adopted dog entertained. As a dog lover, I felt up to the task and arrived in the morning, ready for a walk with my girlfriend and my dog, Bentley.

When we returned from our walk, I noticed that my keys had disappeared somewhere along the way. I retraced my steps and figured they were likely in a large park we passed through. We commenced the search and spent nearly three hours combing the park, but ultimately came up empty handed.

By the time Sunday morning rolled around I was fully convinced that my keys were gone for good. They were probably buried deep under some leaves and I’d have to drop $100 to get them replaced. I wasn’t happy about it, but I accepted the situation.

I don’t know if I would call it a Christmas miracle, but several hours later I received a call from my gym saying that my luck had changed. A Mr. Martin Phillips had found my key ring and used the gym membership card on it to relay news of the discovery. Phillips left his name and number and said it was fine if I gave him a call. Within an hour, we were shaking hands and I was reunited with my keys. I thanked him for his time and for his trouble, but he was having no part of it. He said he was simply looking out for his neighbors.

What Martin didn’t know was how much his gesture helped me out. He didn’t know that having a car is essential for my job. And he had no idea that my girlfriend relies on me to drive because she can’t drive herself.

While a set of car keys isn’t exactly the most conventional present, it’s one I’m especially thankful for. And above all, I’m thankful for Martin Phillips and his generosity. He gave me one of the most memorable and meaningful gifts I’ve ever received.

Happy birthday to Ladarren Sewell, Johnny Brownlow, Edward Orr and Harry Staff, all of Sherman; Patricia Winchester of Howe; and Kathrin Hite of Whitesboro.

Happy anniversary to Teddy and Dawn Simpson of Sherman, 21 years.