Dear Abby

Kindness Puts Woman's Bad Day Back on Track

DEAR ABBY: Please let the world know that kind people still exist. I was on my way to two job interviews. Not surprisingly, I was nervous, so before I got off my train, I took my phone out to check the directions to the first one. A short walk later, I reached the subway, but when I went into my purse for my wallet to buy a MetroCard, lo and behold, my wallet and new glasses were missing.

I retraced my steps and ran to the courtesy counter to ask if anyone had turned in my wallet and glass case. The woman in the booth told me the train was still in the station and to hurry there immediately to check for my things. Long story short, no luck.

Heartbroken, I returned to the courtesy desk. Not only would I miss both my appointments, but I was stranded with no money. I burst into tears as I explained the situation to the woman in the booth. Abby, she reached into her purse and handed me $7! "It's all I have right now," she said, "use it to get to your interviews." I went to my interviews and aced them both. When I came back to thank her, she was gone, but she had described me to the woman on the next shift who handed me a courtesy ticket home.

Abby, that woman's kindness was overwhelming. And just when the day couldn't get any better, I received a call. A conductor had found my wallet and glasses and would meet me on the train the next day.

I just want to share that kindness can happen when we least expect it. When it happens, we should pay it forward. -- S. SMITH, ASBURY PARK, N.J.

DEAR S. SMITH: And I know you will. Good deeds are like wildflower seeds. Throw enough of them around and a desert becomes a garden.

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DEAR ABBY: I'm a stay-at-home mother with a 4-year-old son. Every summer, my stepson -- who is now 8 -- comes to stay with us. In past years it has been all right, but since the boys have become more rambunctious, it has gotten harder.

Abby, I don't deal well with stress. Having two active boys running around the house has made me extremely nervous. There's a reason I chose to have only one biological child -- I knew I couldn't handle more. I thought a few short summers with a stepchild would be OK. I was wrong.

I have spoken to my husband about my problem; he doesn't seem to understand the amount of strain I am under. I am starting my own business later this year, and my husband doesn't see why I can't bring both boys to my appointments next summer. The younger child would play quietly alone, but not with his half-brother there. What should I do? -- PULLING MY HAIR OUT IN HUNTSVILLE

DEAR PULLING YOUR HAIR: You husband is mistaken. Two active boys should not accompany you to your business appointments, any more than they should accompany your husband to his. Start researching NOW what summer programs are offered in your area for kids so they will be entertained and supervised during the day. Family time can be in the evenings and on weekends, when you are in a better frame of mind to deal with the pandemonium.

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