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PO woman’s essay featured on NPR

After listening to Sarah Adams’ philosophy on life, you’ll never look at a pizza delivery guy the same way. At least that’s what she hopes.

“Coolness to the pizza delivery dude is a practice in equality,” Adams wrote in an essay that will be featured on National Public Radio Monday on May 16. “I am the equal to all I meet because of the kindness in my heart. And it all starts here — with the pizza-delivery dude.”

Adams said she wrote the essay after learning NPR was reviving a series launched by radio legend Edward R. Murrow in the 1950s called “This I Believe,” which featured essays exploring people’s core values and beliefs. The first essays broadcast this year were written and read by the likes of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and renowned author Isabel Allende, but Adams said when she heard NPR was soliciting essays from listeners, too, she decided to give it a try.

“I liked the idea of it, then I listened to the essay by Colin Powell, and kept thinking about it,” she said, explaining that she wrote her essay in a little over an hour. Then sat on it for two days before actually submitting it.

Adams, who has been teaching English at Olympic College for the past two years, said the idea for the essay came from her own college days in Madison, Wisc., when she drove back and forth daily along the heavily congested and stressful Beltline Highway.

“Whenever I saw a pizza delivery guy, I always tried to get out of his way and let him over because I figured he was just trying to do his job and get food to people,” she said.

Although she may not need to worry about them in traffic so much anymore, Adams does make a point of being polite to people delivering pizzas and “giving them nice tips.”

Adams said she didn’t tell any of her friends or family about her essay until NPR contacted her. And she still can’t believe hers was chosen for the series.

“It’s a little surreal — kind of like winning the lottery. It’s still sinking in,” she said. “But it’s been a lot of fun, especially going to KUOW — the NPR affiliate in Seattle — to record it.”

Adams is one of only two listeners so far asked to read their essay on the air. Jay Allison, who hosts and helps produce the series, said the essays by Adams and Rhode Island resident Frederic Reamer were chosen from the more than 1,500 submitted because “they were distinctive and surprising. They illuminated personal belief in unexpected ways.”

Adams’ three-minute essay will be played Monday during the NPR newsmagazine All Things Considered, which will air on KUOW and KPLU, the Tacoma affiliate, from 4 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

To listen to past essays or to submit an essay, visit www.npr.org/thisibelieve.

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