Gov. Cuomo Shares Heartfelt Letter from Elderly Kansas Man Who Mailed Him a Face Mask

Gov. Cuomo read the letter aloud at his daily coronavirus briefing.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the letter represented the "generosity of spirit that makes this country so beautiful."CBS News

The retired Kansas farmer asked Gov. Cuomo to give the mask to a healthcare worker.

The letter, written by hand on white notebook paper, so moved the governor of New York that he read it aloud on live television Friday. The single-page missive came from a retired farmer in Kansas, who also included an N95 face mask from his coveted supply, asking that it be given to doctor or nurse battling coronavirus in the country's hardest-hit state.

"You want to talk about a snapshot of humanity?" the clearly moved governor asked at his daily briefing on COVID-19. "How beautiful is that? I mean, how selfless is that?"

The letter begins "Dear Mr. Cuomo, I seriously doubt that you will ever read this letter as I know your are busy beyond belief with the disaster that has befallen our country."

The writer praised Cuomo's no-nonsense approach to battling the epidemic, and noted that he and his wife were elderly rural residents who once ran a farm. His wife, he said, is in ill health.

Andrew Cuomo/Twitter

"I'm a retired farmer hunkered down in northeast Kansas with my wife, who has but one lung and occasional problems with her remaining lung. She also has diabetes. We are in our 70s now, and frankly, I am afraid for her."

He also feared for those on the front lines of medical care, which is why he included a hard-to-get N95 respirator mask. 

It was a holdover from his farming days, he said. He had five of the devices, but he wanted Cuomo to have one of them.

That single gift spoke volumes to Cuomo.

"You have five masks. What do you do? Do you keep all five? Do you hide five masks? No, you send one mask to New York to help a nurse or a doctor," he told reporters at the Albany briefing. 

"How giving is that? It's that love, that courage, that generosity of spirit that makes this country so beautiful. That makes Americans so beautiful," the governor said.

The letter, signed "Dennis and Sharon," lightened Cuomo's heart, he said.

"It's that generosity of spirit, that for me, makes up for all the ugliness you see," he said. "Take one mask, I'll keep four. God bless America."