Homework: Join Our National Caroling Party Download our version of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," then record your own. Send it in, and we may use it for our national caroling party.
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Homework: Join Our National Caroling Party

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Homework: Join Our National Caroling Party

Homework: Join Our National Caroling Party

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/97911645/97925920" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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ANDREA SEABROOK, host:

Now to your homework. We asked you to send in stories about encounters with strangers that had a profound effect on your life. Vicky Smith(ph) from League City, Texas was waiting for a flight from Florida to L.A. about six years ago when she encountered a man who stood out. He was tattooed from head to toe and wearing a dog collar.

Ms. VICKY SMITH: Everything was pierced. His ears were pierced. His eyebrows were pierced. His nose was pierced. You know, I think I might have been a little afraid of him.

SEABROOK: Vicky ended up sitting next to him and his sister on the plane. And then they got to talking.

Ms. SMITH: We talked about their school. We talked about surfing because he loved surfing, and I had done some in high school. And I just came away from that thinking, oh my gosh, I'm through making snap decisions about people, and I can say it's so easy to be wrong.

SEABROOK: Another listener, Jim Johnson(ph), was driving along in North Wales, Pennsylvania when he saw a man collapse on the sidewalk outside of a church. He pulled over.

Mr. JIM JOHNSON: I knelt down beside him and checked his pulse and found what I feared to be true. He had no pulse. He was dead.

SEABROOK: Jim was a paramedic, so he started CPR. A crowd gathered, the priest came out of the church and gave the man the last rites. Eight minutes later, an ambulance came and got his heart restarted.

Mr. JOHNSON: My experience as a paramedic told me that a man down that long without a heartbeat is almost certainly going to die. He would probably arrest again before he got to the hospital and probably would not survive.

SEABROOK: A few days later, Jim stopped by the church. The only person there was the cleaning lady.

Mr. JOHNSON: She said, I'm so sorry, our sexton had a heart attack over the weekend. So I clarified, and I asked her, does that mean he's still alive? And she said, yes he is. He's at the hospital down the street.

SEABROOK: When Jim got to the hospital, the man, Joe, was in the ICU.

Mr. JOHNSON: He got a smile from ear to ear, and almost as fast as all of that emotion came to his face, he started to cry. And then I started to cry because it was very emotional for both of us. By the time we both settled down, he said to me, so you're the one. You are my angel.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. JOHNSON: It was days before my feet touched the ground again.

SEABROOK: Thanks to all of you who shared your stories with us. Now, for your next assignment, you're getting two weeks to complete your homework. Why? Because it's the return of our national caroling party.

(Soundbite of song "Deck The Halls")

SEABROOK: Break out those instruments, gather the choir, if you have a dog that can bark Christmas carols, get him in the room. We want as many people as possible to sing and play along, and then we'll stitch it all together.

(Soundbite of song "Deck The Halls")

SEABROOK: This year's song, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

(Soundbite of song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town")

SEABROOK: Now, we want to make sure everyone is in sync. So we need you to sing and play along with this recording we've made. You can find the entire sound file along with instructions on how to send in your contribution at npr.org.

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