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by Abigail Van Buren

Stranger's Kindness Touches Woman During Son's Illness

DEAR ABBY: With Halloween approaching, I would like to share a young man's act of kindness that will stay with me forever.

In October 2005, my lively and energetic 7-year-old son, Matthew, was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. After successfully completing treatment, he was back to his old self and happily making plans for the summer. Unfortunately, by the following summer his tumor was growing back, and there was nothing the doctors could do.

One evening in July we ordered a pizza to be delivered. Matthew told me that for Halloween he wanted to dress like a pizza delivery man, and asked if he could talk to the man when he came to the house. Because of the tumor, Matthew's speech was difficult to understand. His right side was paralyzed, and his body was swollen from steroids, so I was concerned about how the person would react. I was hesitant, but agreed.

When the delivery man arrived, I was shocked to see how young he was. I told him my son was sick but wanted to meet him because he wanted to dress like a pizza delivery man for Halloween. Without hesitation the young man came in and talked to Matthew about his job. He even gave Matthew his name tag to wear as part of his costume on Halloween. I was so impressed with that young man. He wasn't taken aback by my son's appearance, as so many of our adult friends had been, and he made Matthew so happy.

Matthew was in the hospital by Halloween, but he wore the man's pin on his hospital gown. It was my son's last Halloween, and I'm thankful that this young man was so caring and considerate. His name is Jeff, and his kindness should be an example to everyone. -- LINDA IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR LINDA: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your son. Your letter touched my heart. Thank you for writing to remind my readers and me what a difference a simple act of kindness can make in the life of another person.