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Bob May Rudolph Story
Neal Cox, Realtor - Judah Real Estate Group

Bob May Rudolph Story

As the holiday season of 1938 came to Chicago, Bob May wasn’t feeling much comfort or joy. A 34 year old advertising copywriter for Montgomery Ward, May was exhausted and nearly broke. His wife Evelyn was bedridden, on the losing end of a two year battle with cancer. This left Bob to look after their 4 year old daughter, Barbara. One night, Barbara asked her father, “Why isn’t my mommy like everybody else’s mommy?” As he struggled to answer his daughter’s question, Bob remembered the pain of his own childhood. A small, sickly boy, he was constantly picked on and called names. But he wanted to give his daughter hope, and show her that being different was nothing to be ashamed of. More than that, he wanted her to know that he loved her and would always take care of her. He couldn’t afford to buy his daughter a gift for Christmas, so Bob decided to write a special story just for her (and make a homemade picture book). In early December, Bob’s wife died. Though he was heartbroken, he kept working on the book for his daughter. A few days before Christmas, he reluctantly attended a company party at Montgomery Ward. His co-workers encouraged him to share the story he’d written. After he read it, there was a standing ovation. Everyone wanted copies of the book. Montgomery Ward bought the rights to the book from their debt-ridden employee. Over the next six years, at Christmas, they gave away six million copies of the book to shoppers. Every major publishing house in the country was making offers to obtain the book. In an incredible display of goodwill, the head of the department store returned all rights to Bob May. Four years later, he became a millionaire. The bedtime story he wrote for his daughter was titled “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.” - Neal
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