Sometimes I get the biggest kick out of fans and, sometimes, fan mail. Considering some of the mail we get, we wonder what some fans are thinking at times.
I remember a long time ago-I think it was right after I won a Daytona 500-I received a letter from this lady. She wanted me to mail her $500. She said she needed that amount of money and, after reading the newspaper, she knew I had won enough money to send her $500. She didn't say why she needed the money. In fact, she didn't explain anything. She just said she needed $500. Of course, with no more explanation than she gave, I never sent her the money and I never heard from her again.
But the best thing we ever received came several years ago from a little boy in California, and I guess Lynda will always keep this. The little boy clipped a small picture of my race car out of a magazine. He put it right on the front of an envelope and mailed it without an address or anything other than the picture and a stamp. It made it across the country-all the way to Level Cross, North Carolina.
When I realized what had happened, I said, "Well, racing is getting there. This is a neat thing that has happened. The people in California know what the No. 43 is and stands for."
The letter came probably 30 years ago or longer. Since that time, I have never had anything but praise for postal workers. Think about it for a minute-just how many stops that letter probably made and how many people along the way could have thrown it in junk mail and didn't. It finally arrived at the Randleman, North Carolina, post office, and somebody there delivered it to Level Cross.
All the little boy wanted was an autograph. I didn't know where to send it, so we put a tracer on the letter. You can bet the little fellow got all the autographs he wanted.
We still get a lot of mail from people simply wanting money. They will write and say they broke a leg and can't work. Sometimes I will get mail from someone whose spouse has left and is having a difficult time making ends meet.
I got a letter just the other day from someone who claimed he had wrecked his car and needed money to get it repaired. He claimed he couldn't go back to work until he had a car.
I think one of the most unusual requests I've ever received came one summer from a lady. She wrote this long letter about what a big garden she had planted and how many vegetables she had growing. She said she needed some money to buy canning equipment so she could can all the beans and stuff she had growing.
She asked if I could send her some money to buy this canning equipment. She said if I would come by her house in late August or early September, she would give me plenty of beans and corn and tomatoes that she would have canned by then. She even included an old family recipe for canning tomatoes.