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DEAR ABBY: I would like to share a sweet and unusual experience I had with a stranger while Christmas shopping last year.

The cashier totaled my merchandise and said it came to $28.60. I handed her my credit card, but it didn't register in the machine. I gave her another card. It, too, didn't work. The cashier said something must be wrong with the machine.

A lady standing behind me asked the cashier, "How much was that?" The cashier told her and the lady said, "I'll take care of it," and handed her $30. I was astounded! I said, "Lady, don't do that. I'm able to pay for this." She said, "I'm sure you are, but I want to give it to you as a Christmas present."

The cashier handed her the change and the sales slip, which she gave to me in case I needed to return the merchandise.

I was so stunned I didn't get her name or address. I want to tell her how much the gift was appreciated by both me and my wife. -- THANKFUL TEXAN

DEAR THANKFUL: I'm printing your letter, but you didn't have to ask her name. It's evident: She was Mrs. Santa Claus.

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