DEAR ABBY: You asked readers to tell you about random acts of kindness they have experienced. Well, here's mine. It's the story of a black woman's kindness to a 16-year-old white girl who was lost in Harlem. It was a cold and rainy night late in December of 1944.
My 15-year-old brother and I had gone to visit an elderly aunt in New York between Christmas and New Year's. My brother decided he wanted to go back to Connecticut after a couple of days, but I wanted to stay longer. I thought I knew the city and suggested that he get the train at the 125th Street station to save time. I saw him off and then unknowingly got on the wrong bus to return to my aunt's.
I knew I was in trouble when the bus turned onto either Lexington or Amsterdam Avenue. I had no money. I was the only white person left on the bus. In the back of the bus a group of musicians were tuning up (remember, it was war time and gas was rationed).
I was sitting next to a woman, and I began to cry in absolute terror. The woman asked me what was wrong. I told her I was lost and had no money. She said she'd give me the bus fare, and proceeded to tell me where to go after I got off the bus. I cried harder and told her I was afraid of her people. The woman then offered to get off the bus with me.
We walked across the street together in the cold rain, and she waited with me until a bus came. She got on the bus with me, paid my fare and told the bus driver where I was to get off. The bus driver closed the door behind her, told her that he had taken her a block and demanded that she pay another fare for herself.
I have often thought of this good woman and prayed many, many times that God has been good to her for her kindness to me. I have also tried to show kindness to all people, black or white, that I have worked with or met. I was so distraught, I don't know if I ever thanked her. Writing this letter to you, Abby, is my sincere thanks to this Good Samaritan. -- ANNA HART ZIRUK, BREWSTER, MASS.
DEAR ANNA: With a little luck, your Good Samaritan may see this letter and remember her good deed. Thank you for reminding us that you can't judge the quality of people by the color of their skin.