DEAR ABBY: I'm the mother of a U.S. Navy sailor who has been the recipient of random acts of kindness from complete strangers. I was most affected personally when a woman stopped us in a large parking garage in Chicago to say, "Thank you for your service, young man." And there was a stranger who paid for my son's meal in an airport when he had a layover on his way home for Christmas. Another time, we were in a line to see a movie and the attendant waved us to the front of the line -- and everyone smiled about it.
Whenever my son goes anywhere in uniform, he's stopped by people who just want to say thank you.
I'm amazed and thrilled. Part of the reason I am so touched is I was a teenager living in San Diego during the Vietnam era. At that time, young people in the military were cursed and reviled. It was a shameful time in our history when people serving their country could not be proud of their service. Today, I am proud of my son, and he is able to be proud of himself and his decision to enlist in the Navy.
So, thank you to all you folks who show your gratitude to our service members by the little things you do. You not only touch that person, but their extended family as well. -- PROUD MOM IN OVERLAND PARK, KAN.
DEAR PROUD MOM: I'm pleased to pass along your sentiments -- and honored you chose me to be the messenger. All of us owe our thanks and support to those brave young men and women who have dedicated themselves -- and who risk their lives -- in service to our country. Not only should we thank them when we see them, but we should also pray for their safe return.
DEAR ABBY: I work in a large department store attached to a shopping mall. Because many of the stores have no restrooms, customers come into our store to use the facilities. I'm happy they do because it gives us more business. However, I'm confused by some of the patrons.
I think it shows good manners to end a cell phone call when visiting a restroom. While I was in there today, a woman entered the stall next to me and continued talking on her phone the entire time she was in there! It's disgusting, but it happens all the time. I'm uncomfortable using the restroom while someone is on the phone, and I'd be very offended if I was on the other end of the line.
What's proper etiquette regarding cell phones in public restrooms? Is there anything I could say to someone who does this? -- TRYING TO DO MY BUSINESS
DEAR TRYING: Your complaint is one I'm hearing increasingly often. For your safety, I do not advise correcting the manners of a stranger. While common sense and consideration for others (including the person on the other end of the line as well as the occupant of the next stall) would dictate conversation be put on hold while on the toilet, nothing you or I can do will prevent this invasion of personal privacy -- short of bringing a loud whoopee cushion with you during breaks and squeezing it in self-defense.
P.S. If you think we have it bad in the ladies' room, I have also heard about men talking on their cell phones while standing at the urinals. Heaven help us.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)