Celebrity

George H. W. Bush's Decade-Long Secret Pen Pal Revealed

Wikimedia / Twitter - CNN

When you think about people in political office, you may assume that most of the things they do are to help them gain an advantage in the polls.

It always feels like they are ready for another photo-op or giving another interview, all to help increase awareness of themselves.

But it turns out that not all politicians are like that. The recent passing of George H.W. Bush was very sad for a lot of people, but one silver lining was that some of his secret good deeds have come to the forefront.

It has been revealed that in Bush's later years he decided to sponsor a 10-year-old Filipino boy, but he had to make it a secret.

Bush took part in the program set up by Compassion International, a nonprofit that operates in churches to allow people to sponsor those who are less fortunate. Bush decided to take volunteer himself in 2001 after learning about it at a Christmas concert.

Compassion International's president Wess Stafford, spoke to CNN about Bush's involvement. "All of the sudden, Mr. Bush, who was sitting only a few rows back and surrounded by security, raised his hand and asked for a pamphlet," Stafford said.

Bush sponsored a boy named Timothy from the Phillipines, but to ensure the safety of the child he had to use a pseudonym so the boy didn't even realize his pen pal of a decade was actually the former president of the United States.

The first letter was sent in 2002, and Bush wrote:

Dear Timothy,

I want to be your new pen pal.

I am an old man, 77 years old, but I love kids; and though we have not met I love you already.

I live in Texas - I will write you from time to time.

Good Luck. G. Walker"

Stafford explained that he knew about the pseudonym. "His top security called me and said 'this doesn't surprise me coming from him, but if he's going to sponsor this kid, we need to make sure the boy doesn't know who his sponsor is.' So, he signed all his letters to Timothy as 'George Walker.'"

But apparently Stafford had to keep reading everything he wrote to the child because Bush kept nearly giving himself away.

"His letters were the most sweet, spirited letters I have read from any sponsor, but he kept giving hints as to who he could be," Stafford explained. "He was really pushing the envelope."

One of his biggest slip-ups was sending a photo of his dog, Sadie. Another time, he mentioned that he was spending Christmas at the White House.

Bush broke protocol in other ways too. When he learned that his sponsor child liked art, he decided to send him some supplies. He wasn't supposed to send presents, but Stafford revealed they found a way to make it happen.

"Timothy would send him hand drawings and told the President how much he liked art, so he sent over color pencils, sketch pads, and paint," he explained. "I waited for my staff to go to the Philippines and send it with them. They would then bring it to the church Timothy was a part of, so he could collect his gifts."

Timothy finally found out who his sponsor was when he graduated at 17. Apparently, the boy hadn't really taken the time to put together the clues, but he was stunned to find out that he had been conversing with a former president for his entire life.

Source - CNN / This Is Insider

How do you think you would react if you found out you had been pen pals with a president?

Tanya has been writing for Shared for two years. She spends too much time thinking about dogs, Marvel movies, and ice cream. You can reach me at tanya@shared.com