This is what I would have preferred to see ~
Dear Ms. Lucia Whalen,
I hope you like the flowers I sent. They are just a small expression of how grateful I am that you had an eye on my house on July 16 and didn’t just look away when you suspected foul play. It is really inspiring to know someone who does the right thing, takes on responsibility and calls 911. So many people, it seems these days, just turn on their heels, think it is none of their business and let crime scare them from what their conscience informs them to do.
I have a wonderful life here in Cambridge, this is a beautiful street and my house is a warm place to return to after traveling so far. I was home at last, keys in hand and the door was jammed. I bet it was the hot weather and humidity; it seems to happen every July. The driver was nice enough to help this old, cane – assisted man get into his missed home.
I have been told you too work for Harvard. I have also been told that the media accused you of using racist language on the 911 call and that you never did. You had to hire an attorney. I am so very sorry that your act of kindness and courage placed you in danger and distress. It would be my privilege to pay your attorney fees. Please send the bill to me and accept this payment as my celebration of my good fortune, my neighborhood and gratitude.
Your grateful neighbor,
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.