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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: May I add to your examples of acts of kindness?

A short time later, a nurse from the hospital to which Cindy had been transferred called to update me on her status. Her injuries were severe; she was stable but critical and heading into surgery. Breaking all the rules, the nurse told me that my nephews, Jacob and Travis, had died instantly in the crash.

I had called ahead to Houston to reserve a rental car. But when I arrived, they refused to rent me one because I didn't have a current driver's license. My purse had been stolen the week before, and I had not yet gone to get a replacement. All I had with me was an expired card I was using for picture ID, but was told that was unacceptable. I was devastated. I was still two hours from the hospital where Cindy was.

I stood outside the rental office in the rain, ready to burst into tears, when two men who had been ahead of me in line at the counter approached and asked me why the agency wouldn't rent me a car. I explained about my sister, her family, the stolen purse and the missing driver's license. They listened sympathetically, then told me not to worry, they would get me there.

They were John and June James, a father and son who live in Houston. They took me to John's home so I could call my family and let them know I was all right. Then June drove me 120 miles (one way) to the hospital where my sister and surviving nephew were. I don't know how I could have gotten to her side without their help. June's sister rode along, talking with me and keeping me calm the whole trip.

June drove 240 miles, round trip, for a stranger -- and I pray that God blesses them for their generous and caring natures. I don't judge people by their color, but I know many ignorant people who do. Thankfully, the James family doesn't either, for you see, I am white and the Jameses are black. They saw a person in desperate need, and I saw a loving family.

My sister and nephew are still recovering from their injuries. Her husband sustained minor injuries, but like Cindy, he's dealing with the grief of losing two sons. -- BONNIE BURGETT, WILLMAR, MINN.

DEAR BONNIE: I'm gratified to know that your sister, brother-in-law and one of your nephews survived the tragedy. Please accept my condolences on the loss of the younger children, and thank you for sharing this act of kindness with me and my readers.

All too often, the media reflect only violence and tragedy because sensationalism is what sells. But there are generous, caring people who reach out to others every day. And as obvious as it may seem, it bears repeating.

CONFIDENTIAL TO "CHATTERBOX" IN MIAMI BEACH: Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something. (Plato)

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