DEAR ABBY: From time to time I have seen letters in your column about acts of kindness. I hope you will print my letter to say "thank you" to a kind soul who helped me after Hurricane Katrina.
My husband and I stayed in our home in Biloxi during Katrina. We were fortunate that the storm stopped at our front door. The large oak trees that fell did not fall on our house, and we were able to assist others on our street who also stayed. But we both knew that I needed to get our children (3 1/2 years old and 15 months) out. We were running short of water and were not sure when there would be more food.
Not realizing how badly everyone had been affected, I left the house with only two small bottles of water, $10 in cash and a few snacks. I wanted to leave everything for my husband -- thinking that as soon as I got to Jackson, Miss., everything would be fine.
I arrived in the town of Hazelhurst on Tuesday evening with two thirsty, crying babies, and wondering what in the world to do. I pulled into the Days Inn and asked if they had a room. They did, but there was no water, no electricity and no drinking water. I left the front desk in tears.
A kind Hispanic woman ran after me and offered me a gallon of her water. I offered her the $10, but she refused it. Her husband told me I needed to stop and rest. She helped me take the kids out of the car, helped me with my luggage, helped me check in, and showed me to my room. Later that night, she brought me half a gallon of milk for the babies, and a beautiful votive candle so I could see them. She said, "For the babies."
I left early the next morning to try to get enough gas so I could reach my parents, and I never got the woman's name. May God bless her for the rest of her life. I am normally very logical and calm, but I could not think clearly that day. She opened her arms and her heart, and for that I am truly grateful.
I wish I could see her, hug her and say "thank you" in person. I owe her so much, but all I can offer her are my prayers for the rest of her days on this Earth.
Thank you for helping me try to reach her, Abby. God bless all of us in this difficult time. -- LAURA V., BILOXI, MISS.
DEAR LAURA: I'm pleased to print your letter. I hope your guardian angel sees it. By sharing what little she had with you, she demonstrated the true spirit of giving in its highest form.