A Note from the Publisher

Corgis on the Beach
Corgis on the Beach

Hello all!

You probably noticed a couple of errors last week in HeroicStories email publication. (We had a typo in an “originally published” date, and an issue went out with a serious character encoding issue, making it effectively unreadable.)

First, I apologize for the inconvenience. Mistakes shouldn’t happen, but of course they will. We’re human.

Second, thank you to all who politely let me know. I really do appreciate hearing from you, and that you care about the quality of the publication. It means a lot. Truly.

HeroicStories is on the web

I wanted to remind you that every story you get in email is also published on heroicstories.org. I can’t correct the email once it goes out, but I do update the website with anything that needs fixing as soon as I (or my helpers) can.

Whenever you spot a problem, head over to the website. The sidebar lists the most recent issues (including whichever one you just got). In addition, the email also includes a link directly to the issue on the website as well. Look for “Online Archive: You can also read today’s story here: ” followed by a link, down below each story.

About the Corgis

I include the photo above because this all happened while I was out of town, on a short vacation on the Pacific Coast. Because problems always arise when you’re away, right?

Here’s why I’m taking the time to write you before I’ve even left for home:


Not mine, but in addition to the many polite responses I mentioned above, I also got several I can only characterize as angry at having been unable to read the emailed issue.


Anger directed at a publication dedicated to “explore[ing] the idea that people are good, that individuals and individual action matter.


I had to sleep on it, and decided I couldn’t let it slide.

Please indulge me; I need to vent a little.

Anger as a go-to response

I get angry responses all the time; it’s the nature of being an online publisher, especially over in the tech space where opinions and anger are common.

I have several thoughts when I get angry responses:

  • Maybe the person’s having a bad day.
  • Maybe I misinterpreted.
  • I sure hope they don’t approach their entire life this way — how unpleasant they must be to be around.

I just never expected it here.

If anger about something as inconsequential as an error in an online publication dedicated to highlighting the good in others is your knee-jerk reaction, I’m almost tempted to ask you to reconsider your life choices. Life is simply too short, and too precious, to spend it being angry about little things like this.

Remember also that there are real people at the other end of your email. Real people doing their best, yet making mistakes.

Be kind.

Yes, as I said, I have a thick skin, but I gotta say the angry responses kind of put a damper on a portion of my vacation. I shouldn’t let it get to me, but… I’m human.

And I say this not for myself, but for all the others to whom you choose to vent your displeasure at with anger.

Real people. Humans.

Be kind.

Going forward

The Lesson My Mom Taught Me will re-publish on Monday. Hopefully, it’ll be fixed and readable. It’s a new story and deserves clean publication.

If there’s a problem, however, we’ll fix it.

There’s just no need to be angry.

One request

If you get this in email, don’t reply. A) I’m still on “vacation”, and B) I get enough email as it is.

However, you can comment, if you like, on the web page. When sent in email, down below this text there’ll be a link to this message posted on heroicstories.org. There’s a comment form on that page; feel free to leave your thoughts there. (It’s moderated — it’s a no-anger zone. Smile)

Thanks, as always for being here, for reading this far, and for indulging me in my little rant.

And most of all, thank you for supporting HeroicStories.

Leo Notenboom

PS: I fully expect a few unsubscribed as a result of this message. Another way to help HeroicStories is to compensate for that: spread the word and encourage others to subscribe. Thanks!

61 thoughts on “A Note from the Publisher”

  1. I just don’t get why people are like that. This is a FREE publication — it’s not like you’re losing anything if a glitch happens.

    When I saw the unreadable issue, I just clicked on the headline, read it on the web page, deleted the email, and got on with my day, the error pretty much forgotten until I saw the above explanation.

    Seriously, people, get a freaking life. You don’t need to jump on someone who’s doing a good thing and providing you with a free publication, just because one issue got messed up.

    • I did the same. Geez, there’s more than one way to read these stories. All it takes is using your brain to figure out how else you could view the story.

  2. So very sorry that some folks responded in an angry fashion. They must not be long term subscribers or something. Anyone who has been around here for very long knows, things happen sometimes, but when they do, you fix them. And given what you charge for these wonderful stories (as in nothing), the proper response is to be grateful and move on.

    Thanks for responding and I hope you enjoyed your vacation.

  3. You guys have done a great job for many years. The world is changing these days, and many people are not happy. Let’s hope it gets better soon.

  4. I’m 76 years old and rest assured I have made more than my fair share of mistakes! So I truly hope that the angry messages you got were from those very few perfect people on this earth who never ever make mistakes. I haven’t met any but surely getting angry about an unreadable (but fixable) email shows a) they are perfect and cannot tolerate mistakes; or b) they are angry with themselves so feel justified in ranting about a mistake. Please let these comments roll off your back because I look forward to receiving the stories and would hate to see you give up. These stories really do uplift me and everyone I know who reads them. We discuss them, we cry over them, we laugh at them and they do inspire us to try harder to emulate the good in our lives. God bless!

    • As one of your contemporaries, Anne, I feel the same way. Leo – thanks for stepping up when Heroic Stories was orphaned, and adopting it! The complainers, to use Randy’s term, are obliviots.

  5. We can’t say it enough, but we’ll keep trying. Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything you do. You add value to the world, and to our lives. Each and every one of us. Even the ingrates. …which is rather a shame, actually. but anyway. You are an amazing person. Thank you.

  6. I copied the article (warts included), pasted into word and then did a find and replace for the errant formatting symbol. Replaced the symbol with a space, easy peasy, not worth getting angry over.

    • It was even easier than that — all you really needed to do was click the story title at the top of the email, which would have brought you to the web page, which had the story with no formatting problems. 🙂

    • I did the same thing, replaced the symbol. I could have just jumped to the web version but I took it as an exercise to make it readable (yeah, nerd, but it was fun to tweak until it was “just right”).

      Anyway, agree with the sentiment about it being ridiculous and sad that anyone would get angry about that. I know we’ve all had a stressful year and a half and tempers are shorter, but that reaction to a simple glitch is just a shame. Relax, people, and just try to remain calm…

      • Did the same – because of the same :).

        Took a few seconds.

        I probably would have worked out that I could follow the link if the fix failed me ;^) .

        To Leo and co – sorry you got grief from some people. Thank you for what you do.

  7. And that’s one of the reasons an added mission in my life is to be a life coach, to mentor others and help them see that all of us have a choice in everything we do to act from reaction or from a conscious response. My reaction to many things in life used to be anger, and of course I need to show my rightness by responding to the offender LOL. Seems I thought that I knew better than creation how creation was supposed to behave. And of course when it didn’t fit my model of behavior, there was anger, fear, a need to retaliate and control! Counting to 10 or whatever and allowing a conscious response to form, I come to an error in the newsletter or almost anything else that heads my way in life with awareness, consideration of what I need to or can do in this particular situation, and then acting on the best choice I come up with. Never does anger come up as a valid conscious response LOL, instead recognizing it as an expression of fear of one form or another and having no value in solving a problem. My wish is that we all may become better at responding consciously in life and not in reaction so much.

  8. I’m sorry you received angry responses. I appreciate the stories you share and would miss them if they disappeared, but I can’t imagine being angry over a small glitch in a publication I get for nothing. There seem to be a lot of angry people in this country. It makes me sad.

  9. It’s interesting that people not only felt *angered* (like the first comment said ‘really?!?’) but that they took the time express that in writing. It seems like a lot of effort. I am curious if this is a growing phenomenon? Is there something that makes more people lash out – feeling like they’re ‘doing something’?

    I know I’m increasingly quick to irritation these days but that’s to do with my pain. Usually the pain is also enough to prevent me ‘wasting’ the time of writing a response so I find ways to get over whatever has irritated me. (I must admit the email was so far on the list it barely registered and I didn’t even take the time to let the publisher know).

    But that someone(s) took the time to write does blow my mind. Thank you for teaching me something new today.

  10. Leo, thank you for all you do. We started reading HeroicStories when our kids were little and we read them as a family. The children are long grown now and I recall many of the repeats, happy to read them again, especially when they include updates about the writer’s life. When Randy passed the torch to Joan and then to you, I thought, “Wow, they have some big shoes to fill.” Yet you have filled those shoes to overflowing and I am sure I speak for many when I say we are grateful for all you do. Warmly, jj

  11. When I received the jumbled email, I wondered if there would be any angry responses. Then I figured, Nah – who would be so petty and small? I am appalled that people get so upset over a free publication that will be corrected. If you need to be angry, at least be angry about something worthwhile: Injustice. Domestic violence. Child abuse. People who abuse their power. And then be more than angry – put action behind your emotions. Make the world a better place.

    And then be grateful that we have these publications to encourage us and dilute the negative information that surrounds us. It doesn’t take a whole lot of energy to be happy.

  12. Actually, the story was readable, like a puzzle. Once the code was deciphered, it was easily read. It was a fun challenge, human against machine.

    However, not everyone sees things the same way, so thank you for giving us a reprint.

    Life happens, and it’s tough, but if we try, sometimes we can make the happenings happy, not all the time, but sometimes.

  13. I seem to have this problem all the time with your site (not complaining, just stating my ineptitude). I want to share this article, but I can’t seem to find any buttons to share it. What am I missing?

    • I don’t have sharing buttons enabled right now, as the tech I was using was slowing down the site. All they do you can do yourself: just copy the URL of the story you want to share from the address bar as you’re viewing it, and then paste that URL into your favorite Social Media. HeroicStories is also shared automatically on Facebook, so if you’re there you can just share the posts there as they come out.

  14. People should get over it. Big deal. Its a mistake. It happens. Just click on the story and read it on the webpage like us normal people did.

    You are doing a great job and i look forward to reading the stories every time!

  15. Thank you for all that you do to bring these positive stories to us. They remind us of the importance of even small acts of kindness. It is unfortunate that you received some angry messages. Maybe some kindness will rub iff on them if they kerp reading these stories.

  16. I basically did the same thing Lynn did, except I used OpenOffice instead of Word. Although, considering the state of the country today, I can’t say I’m surprised about the angry responses. At least it’s not like you’re a store clerk whose store requires people to wear masks. There have been several reports of people getting into physical fights over that, and even at least one report of someone who didn’t like the fact that the store required masks, so they shot and killed the poor clerk. These kind of stories are needed far more today than when the publication first started.

  17. Angry people lose their ability to solve problems (or maybe they’re angry because they have no ability to fix things).

    I simply copied and pasted the garbled text into a word processor and searched & replaced the odd characters with a blank.

    In less than 30 seconds I had a perfectly readable story.

  18. Hope the rest of vacation went well. Safe travels. Thanks for what you do to highlight and nurture good in the world.

  19. As the guy who made up this publication in the first place, the reason it was needed was to counter the sort who made it seem that all of humanity was stupid and thoughtless. In fact, the thoughtful and kind are the majority.

    Let that sink in: some of those angry people were subscribed because they wanted that kind of reassurance, yet they’re the very sort who make them feel like the world sucks. They should “go sit in the corner” and think about that.

  20. Thank you for Heroic Stories. I sometimes save them up for a bit and read them on a day when the world seems grey. They make a difference!

    So sorry that you got angry responses. Heroic stories is a good deed in a naughty world!

  21. Leo, you have done such a wonderful job and I have enjoyed reading these stories so much I am thankful to get them, many times they bring a smile to my face. With all the sad and depressing news now days, it’s nice to hear good stories and news. And as far as the mistake goes, I just clicked the title and read it online. I chuckled and figured it was just a computer glitch and was glad that the online was perfectly clear. As the hapless owner of many mistakes over the years and I am never going to condemn anyone else for being human. Love the picture of the corgi’s, I am a dog lover.

    And you deserve a vacation, everyone needs a break once in a while, please don’t let this and these haters ruin that. Some people are basically unhappy and want to make others miserable too. Misery loves company, don’t be their company.

    Please keep up the good work and know you are appreciated!

  22. Thank you for all the weeks there were no errors – and thank you for trying your best on a week or two that there were some errors. (I don’t remember any besides this issue though). People get angry at every little thing anymore, and it is a real shame. The world was a MUCH better place to live back 60-70 years ago when I was growing up.

    Maybe to help those who were angry, you should publish “mistakes” randomly a few times a year so they get used to things going wrong sometimes. It would help them learn how to react properly, gracefully, and humanly.

    I do hope you were able to put this behind you and have a great ending to your vacation, and that you come back and forget about the nasty complainers. If they unsubscribe, it will make YOUR life better – so that would be a good thing!!!

    Cheers !!!

  23. WOW, I spent all of five (5) miuites copying the text, putting it in Word, hitting Ctrl “F”, and Find/Replace the “CE” with ” “.

    THEN I enjoyed the article.

    Not hard, slightly time consuming, and I do this all the time with other documents I wish to keep or “clean up”.

    Have a great vacation, Mr. Leo!!

    Outlaw -aka- Paul B Covert

  24. I also hit the button on the missive that says to click here to read in a web browser. Twas a great story as usual. No sweat at all. Now go walk with those lovely Corgis some more. Love it when you include them in a ‘sample’ picture or graphic in some of your other publications.

  25. I feel bad for those angry people. I love your stories. They frequently bring tears to my eyes and restore my faith in mankind. There is way too much negativity in the world today. Your stories remind me of the very good that is around us but never revealed in the mainline news. Know that you have supporters who so appreciate the work that you do. Keep the great stories alive and well in this very dysfunctional world.

  26. To errr is human, but to err on an email you sent out to point out an error is…..

    You stated in your email “is also published on heroicstories.com…”. I believe you meant heroicstories.org.

    Not angry, just engaging and caring

    • HA! At least the good news there is that heroicstories.com will automatically redirect you to heroicstories.org. Off to fix the web version. Smile

  27. When I read your email my reaction was like others. It is a free publication. How sad to get angry over something like this. I enjoy all of your websites. Keep up the good work. Just wanted to add my 2 cents worth of encouragement.

    • I’ve never had a dog, but I’ve also never known how anyone could not love corgis, dachshunds, beagles, basset hounds, etc. They’re cute, lovable, and loving. I’ve always given the owners of small, non-yappy dogs the benefit of the doubt.

  28. When I was a youngster in the 70’s, I used to work in a big bank’s computer printing department. Each night we sent out daily and periodic reports to hundreds of managers for their analysis. The list and the reports kept getting bigger. It costed the bank a lot of money. One day, the manager in charge decided to see who really needed the reports. He took one report that had over 50 recipients and withheld printing for a week. In the end, only three managers called to complain the missing reports. That report was decommissioned and provided only as as-needed basis.

    So the bright side of this is: people are actually reading your stories! The worst thing you want to see is if you made the same mistake and nobody calls to let you know, angry or otherwise.

  29. For what it worth’s… my opinion…I love it here, keep up the great work. and I want to say “Thank You”

  30. I just wanted to throw in my 2¢ (and you DID say to not reply to the email) to say thank you for all you do. Your response was classy towards people who really didn’t deserve a response at all. I hope they reconsider their actions and realize that kindness will get them much farther in life. What you do uplifts people all around the world, so thank you again. Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

  31. I am so sorry you got those unpleasant emails.
    I saw I got two mails and thought: Oh a programing mistake.
    I opened the first and read through it even with all the Qs in it cause I was interested in the story – not that much of a problem. First I thought about copying into Word an remove all the Qs – wouldn’t have been much work.
    Then I read the second mail and was happy to have two stories at a time.

    Never was I angry or annoyed or whatever issues people have. Those who do, are the reason we need encouraging stories like this newsletter.

    Haters gonna hate – set them free and enjoy your vacation.

    I apreciate what you do for us bi-weekly and I love the Corgi picture just because.

  32. My first reaction to spotting an online mistake/glitch is “Oopsie.” Second reaction is “Somebody’s probably on it already.”

    If the problem persists, THEN I start thinking about (politely, civilly) complaining. Sometimes I have an opportunity to check communities online to see if I’m not the only one with the problem.

    And yeah, it was pretty easy to think of the copy-replace method to make the story readable.

    The angriest responses you got were from those who were too blinded by anger to do a little simple problem-solving and too impatient to let fellow fallible humans fix their own mistakes.

  33. Mistakes happen. Some of them become chronological adults and send angry e-mails about something they’re getting for FREE, something that can be a bit of uplifting news that we can all really, really use.

    There are good people out there. To quote a story I read somewhere about 20 years ago, “The good people outnumber the bad, but the bad are better organized”. We need to be reminded about those good people, and how their acts of kindness can make a big difference in the lives of people who need help.

    I appreciate your e-mails, which often arrive when I need a reminder about how good people can be. I received the errant e-mail and figured that the corrected one will arrive at some point–and I’ll appreciate it just as much as if it had gone out correctly the first time.

    Enjoy your vacation, and I look forward to what you’ll send when and if.

  34. So sorry that happened, but anger is the hallmark of the age. Your response was gentle yet pointed, and a soft answer turns away wrath. The stories do indeed reinforce my faith in mankind, just as your words confirm my opinion of you. Please carry on, we need you.

  35. One more expression of thanks here for all you do. I truly appreciate your honesty and integrity in your Askleo efforts. Heroic Stories is one more example of the good you do in the world. Judging by all these positive responses I hope you’re able to look past the few vocal negative ones and do what you do best – see the good in others. Keep up the good work and may God continue to bless you in your life and work.

  36. Thank you for all your hard work giving us well written stories that’s free. I saw the error & was wondering about it. Then I scrolled down & used the link to read on the website. No biggie, definitely not something to get angry about. Hope you enjoy your vacation. I miss the Pacific Coast.

  37. Thank you for your email. I’m amazed (and sad) that you had such negative responses to your story. When the story was sent to me I opened it on my phone. The only thought I had at first was that there was some gliche on my phone itself. My second thought was to click on the link to view in online. Easy. Great story, as are all the stories from “Heroic Stories”. I’m so sorry this happened to you. As you say “be kind, people”.

  38. Thank you for providing an inspiring medium for sharing good, Leo – I’ve only just discovered Heroic Stories within the last couple of years, but I’m grateful for each story when it lands in my inbox.

    I regret the spiteful approach that a few chose to take in response, but on behalf of thousands of other grateful subscribers, I say “Thank you!”

  39. Negative energy is always a bummer to feel. We deal with it by spreading positive energy. Thank you for doing that every day. More power to smiles, love, and calm. Thanks again.

  40. Thank you for publishing the stories.
    Dear co-readers, let us not hate the haters, they’re also humans after all, each & everyone of us has their own problems. Everyone can get overwhelmed by them for a short or longer while, yet we go on. You and i could find the energy to write something positive. And that is a real wonder in itself: the anger that a few people had, made a lot of people reach out to the publisher to thank them. So maybe I even have to thank the angry ones in a certain way, for helping me expressing my thanks to the publishers. What I have thought of before, but never done until now.

  41. Me, too, to most of the above. As I commented in a previous story, the team at HeroicStories are heroes to me.

    Leo, I hope you enjoyed your vacation despite the beginning. When you get back, maybe you could think about a HeroicStories story about the founders and followers who made HeroicStories what it is.

    I would also like to suggest to other subscribers that everyone comment from time to time on a story. I think that would give the team feedback and encouragement to continue their good work.

    Warm regards to all…

  42. First, thank you. I just found this latest, “feel good” resource.

    And, thank you for modeling a great reaction to the contrary comments you received:

    –a human response (surprise & hurt)
    –wonder (why, it’s free, etc.); or, ponder
    –optional motivations, with compassion for the deeper meaning/feelings behind the complainant
    –sharing concerns, then putting it behind you.


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