DEAR ABBY: Within the last two months, my dear 75-year-old friend, "Margery," lost her 51-year-old daughter and her 29-year-old granddaughter to cancer. (They were mother and daughter.)
At the funeral home there was a table at the entrance to the viewing room with a printed card asking for your name, address and phone number if you wanted to receive an obituary and memorial card encased in plastic. (I did.)
Two days after the funeral, I received a call from the funeral home asking me what my thoughts were about the funeral. I told the man I had been to many funerals in my life, but had never been called and asked my thoughts about any of them. However, since he was asking, I told him I had been upset to hear from Margery that he tried to charge her $1,000 more for her granddaughter's wake then he did for the daughter's identical wake.
And then, this insensitive jerk proceeded to ask me if I had any thoughts about making "prearrangements" for my OWN demise and funeral! Abby, I couldn't believe my ears! A funeral home trolling for business from grieving friends and relatives of the deceased mother and daughter two days after the granddaughter's funeral? And to use the signed book (to receive memorials) for names, addresses and phone numbers to "promote business" is, in my eyes, unconscionable! Your thoughts, please. -- DORIS L. IN FLORIDA
DEAR DORIS: Just when I think I have seen it all, a letter like yours lands on my desk. Whether the person who called you was the funeral director or a salesman, that person is his own worst enemy. Margery should consider herself fortunate that he didn't approach any mourners who appeared to be under the weather and try to sign them up then and there.
People with such little sensitivity for the feelings of others should not be in a people-oriented profession. If that man's employer reads this, I strongly recommend that he be relegated to the back room, where the individuals he deals with are far beyond the cares and concerns of this world.
Readers, in case you're under the impression that most people are this insensitive and cynical, read on for a change of pace:
DEAR ABBY: Please print my letter about an act of kindness. I was having a rough day at school. I had left some medication at home, but only had enough bus fare for one way. So I borrowed money from a friend and went home at lunch. The heat was terrible, but I still had to walk back to school.
After I returned to school, I fainted in my fourth period class. My teacher said I could go home.
The bus came right away. The driver told me to get on and look for my money afterward. Well, I couldn't find it. It must have fallen from my pocket when I fainted. I told the driver why I didn't have the fare and even offered him two fares for the next day.
He didn't believe me. I was so upset I started to cry while I was getting off the bus. Then I heard a woman say, "Wait!" She took out her wallet and looked for change. She didn't have any, so she offered the driver a $20 bill. The driver couldn't accept the money, but I thought it was so kind of her to offer to pay the bus fare for a total stranger.
I was just about off the bus when another woman offered me a bus ticket. I don't know how to express how grateful I was to those two women.
So if you are one of the women who took the Route 43 bus and helped me out that day, please know I will always remember the kindness you showed me. You are the two nicest people ever -- and I don't even know your names. -- THANKFUL FOR THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS, ONTARIO, CANADA
DEAR THANKFUL: Thank you for an upper of a letter, which proves that angels don't always fly -- sometimes they ride the bus just like the rest of us.