DEAR ABBY: I would like to share an experience that proves the truth of two facts: 1. Don't judge a book by its cover. 2. Young people are great human beings.
Driving home from the hospital after undergoing several cardiovascular tests, I found myself on the freeway in the middle of rush hour. The traffic was terrible. A car in the next lane began honking its horn. I looked over and saw three young women pointing at me. They yelled that my right rear tire was flat. I was a bit suspicious because the girls were wearing earrings in all sorts of places where one doesn't normally wear them, and one girl had bleached "spiked" hair. They appeared rather unsavory.
With some apprehension, I moved to the right lane and exited the freeway. The young women followed me to a nearby gas station. Once I saw my tire was indeed flat, I knew I needed help. I looked around for a pay phone, but couldn't find one. The three young women checked my tire and determined that there were no obvious holes or punctures. They refilled it with air, tested it, and assured me it would probably be OK until I could get to the dealership where the tire had been purchased.
Throughout the entire scenario, they were friendly, courteous and extremely helpful. I was dumbfounded, feeling more than a little guilty for my preconceived ideas about them. They said they had followed me from the time I had gotten on the freeway, trying to catch up to me so they could warn me about my tire. I offered them money; they wouldn't hear of it.
We often hear about the misdeeds of a few disturbed young people. It's time more people spoke up about the good things young people do. -- BARBARA P., DANA POINT, CALIF.
DEAR BARBARA: I agree. The majority of today's teens are intelligent, motivated to succeed and concerned about their future. Anyone who is tempted to put them down as a group should read the following quote, attributed to Socrates, from the fifth century B.C. It shows that complaining about the younger generation is nothing new:
"Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders, and love chatter in places of exercise. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers."
It proves the truth of another saying: "The more things change, the more they remain the same."