Rudolph: The True Story



I received this story in one of those random chain emails that I usually hit delete on before even reading, but this one had CHRISTMAS STORY in the title so I read on.  The story was so touching that after doing a little checking on the internet to see if it was true ( it seems to be) I decided to make this my  holiday post! I am sorry I cannot give credit to the writer but if this reaches you, thank you!  It is a story about love, commitment, creativity,  being different, generosity, and hope. It cannot get much better than that!

I hope it brings you some holiday cheer. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all!

The True Story of Rudolph

A man named Bob May, depressed and brokenhearted, stared out his
drafty apartment window into the chilling December night. His 4-
year-old daughter Barbara sat on his lap quietly sobbing. Bob’s
wife, Evelyn, was dying of cancer.

Little Barbara couldn’t understand why her mommy could never
come home. Barbara looked up into her dad’s eyes and asked, “Why
isn’t Mommy just like everybody else’s Mommy?”

Bob’s jaw tightened and his eyes welled with tears. Her question
brought waves of grief, but also of anger. It had been the story
of Bob’s life. Life always had to be different for Bob. Small
when he was a kid, Bob was often bullied by other boys. He was
too little at the time to compete in sports. He was often called
names he’d rather not remember.

From childhood, Bob was different and never seemed to fit in.
Bob did complete college, married his loving wife and was
grateful to get his job as a copywriter at Montgomery Ward
during the Great Depression.

Then he was blessed with his little girl. But it was all short-
lived. Evelyn’s bout with cancer stripped them of all their
savings and now Bob and his daughter were forced to live in a
two-room apartment in the Chicago slums.

Evelyn died just days before Christmas in 1938. Bob struggled to
give hope to his child, for whom he couldn’t even afford to buy
a Christmas gift. But if he couldn’t buy a gift, he was
determined to make one – a storybook!

Bob had created an animal character in his own mind and told the
animal’s story to little Barbara to give her comfort and hope.
Again and again Bob told the story, embellishing it more with
each telling.

Who was the character? What was the story all about? The story
Bob May created was his own autobiography in fable form.

The character he created was a misfit outcast like he was. The
name of the character? A little reindeer named Rudolph, with a
big shiny nose.

Bob finished the book just in time to give it to his little girl
on Christmas Day.

But the story doesn’t end there.

The general manager of Montgomery Ward caught wind of the little
storybook and offered Bob May a nominal fee to purchase the
rights to print the book.

Wards went on to print, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and
distribute it to children visiting Santa Claus in their stores.
By 1946 Wards had printed and distributed more than six million
copies of Rudolph.

That same year, a major publisher wanted to purchase the rights
from Wards to print an updated version of the book. In an
unprecedented gesture of kindness, the CEO of Wards returned all
rights back to Bob May.

The book became a best seller. Many toy and marketing deals
followed and Bob May, now remarried with a growing family,
became wealthy from the story he created to comfort his grieving
daughter. But the story doesn’t end there either.

Bob’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, made a song adaptation to
Rudolph. Though the song was turned down by such popular
vocalists as Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore , it was recorded by
the singing cowboy, Gene Autry.

“Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was released in 1949 and
became a phenomenal success, selling more records than any other
Christmas song, with the exception of “White Christmas.”

The gift of love that Bob May created for his daughter so long
ago kept on returning back to bless him again and again. And Bob
May learned the lesson, just like his dear friend Rudolph, that
being different isn’t so bad. In fact, being different can be a


3 thoughts on “Rudolph: The True Story

  1. how beautiful! thanks for the memory to share with my children. that’s just beyond lovely.

  2. That is a beautiful and VERY inspiring story! I had no idea. I will be sharing this with my family!! It brings me great hope for a very difficult and desperately mournful time we are going through with our little family and granddaughters. Thank you for sharing this!
    Merry Christmas!!

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