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by Abigail Van Buren

Couple's Return of Deposit Pays Dividends to Others

DEAR ABBY: In October l986, my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. My mother nursed him at home after surgery revealed there was nothing more the doctors could do for him. He was not the ideal husband or father. He had been an alcoholic for 10 years, during which he missed all family events, including my high school graduation. My mother refused to leave him, saying he would only end up homeless on the streets.

After battling the cancer for three painful months, Dad died on New Year's Day. Needless to say, his passing was very hard on Mother. At the end, my father told my mother how sorry he was and thanked her for being such a good wife to him.

A few days before his funeral, Mother decided to go to the bank at the mall to deposit $200 in cash and checks that friends and family had sent us, and which we desperately needed. She stood outside the bank filling out her deposit slip when she realized the bank had not yet opened, so she decided to return the next day.

A few hours after she returned home, there was a knock at the door. I answered it and was greeted by a young couple who explained they had found cash and checks on the counter outside the bank in the mall. In her grief, Mother had left behind her deposit! The couple found her address on her deposit slip and drove around but couldn't find the street. After stopping at a few gas stations for directions with no luck, they finally had to stop and buy a map. They handed me the money, and my mother stood speechless. When I closed the door and turned around, tears were rolling down her face.

We still talk about that incident, wishing we had taken the name and phone number of that young couple. They never knew how much their act of kindness has meant to us. Since then, if we find anything of value, we try our very best to locate its owner. We hope that unselfish couple reads this, because we'd like to finally say thank you. -- ESTHER AND LETICIA WHITAKER, SAN JOSE, CALIF.

DEAR ESTHER AND LETICIA: Thank you for your heartwarming letter, which illustrates that making time to do the right thing can make a world of difference.