Robert Solow was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1987. Late October, Solow found in his post a box from Reebok, inside a pair of tennis shoes and a note saying:
My colleagues and I here at Reebok are very proud to have a recipient of this highest of accolades here with us in Boston.
Solow, famous for his quick wit, replied:
Thanks for the walking shoes. I have already tried them and they’re a complete pleasure – easy, light and comfortable. I don’t know why my feet deserve this reward for something that presumably happened at the opposite end of me, but both ends are grateful.
(Both letters are in Robert Solow Papers, Rare Book, Manuscripts and Special Collections Library, Duke University, Box 19.)