DEAR ABBY: I was wondering if you would see that "Hugs Anonymous in Illinois" (June 27) gets this letter. She's the 11-year-old girl who gave a hug to "Stacey," a special-ed child. I want to thank her for being the kindhearted child she is. People like her are in short supply these days.
I have a son, "Jed," who is also in special-ed. He was lonely and stressed out because most of the kids hassled him. It reached the point that he would pull his hair out, which only gave the kids more ammunition to pick on him.
This past year, though, he met Matthew, who has been a true friend. Since then, Jed has had less stress and a happier disposition. It's amazing what just one friend can change. I want to encourage "Hugs" to consider having a special friendship with Stacey. It could change her life.
I would like to add a final note to parents everywhere: Please teach your children that we are all the same inside, and that everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. -- JED'S MOM IN ROSCOE, ILL.
DEAR MOM: Other readers were inspired by "Hugs'" letter, which reminded us how a small act of kindness can go a long way. My prayer is that more people will "embrace" the attitude of this mature and sensitive 11-year-old girl. Creating a more compassionate world happens one person at a time.
And while we're on the subject of compassion, read on:
DEAR ABBY: I recently witnessed something that renewed my faith in the younger generation.
I was on my way to a craft festival recently and was passing under a freeway overpass. There were the usual homeless people asleep under the bridge, including one man who was sprawled on the concrete. Two young people walking by wore spiked hair, piercings, tattoos -- the whole "Goth" look.
One of them bent down next to the homeless man, then stood up and kept walking. I was concerned about what they might have done, so I walked over to the man. I found the young man had left a bottle of water for the homeless man.
I ran to catch up with the couple and told them I had seen what they did and wanted to shake their hands. The young man just shrugged and said he thought the man might be thirsty.
With young people like that walking our streets, I no longer worry about the future of our country. -- JOEL IN AUSTIN, TEXAS
DEAR JOEL: Your letter, like the previous one, is a breath of fresh air. By not prejudging a person by his or her appearance we can put an end to stereotyping. Thank you for sharing your experience with me and my readers.