Brennie Main of Modesto was in a post office recently to mail a care package to her son, Daniel Mancine, who turned 24 on Friday. He is a fireman on the USS Lake Eric. As she moved the box along the ledge, she told a woman also waiting in line that it was going to her son in the Navy. She added that instead of sending the box, "I wished they could send my baby back home to me."
When she got up to the counter, another woman nudged her out of the way and put a $20 bill on the counter. "She said, 'I am paying for this package, and I support our troops, and I want to thank you for letting your son support our county. These boys are the one who are keeping our country free,' " Brennie said. "When she said that, the chills went down my arm. You have no idea how much that means to a mother.
"Then I told her, 'You don't have to do this. I can afford this.' She said, 'No, I am paying for this, and I would do it 100 times over.' She just left her money. She didn't even take her change. She ran out, and wouldn't even give me her name."
After Brennie left the post office, she sat weeping in her car for a time, then called her husband to tell him about the incident.
"This touched my heart so much," she said. "I'm so happy when people support our troops. They care, and I know they care. It made me feel really, really good. It made my day. It made my everything."
Beverly Reeves of Modesto said she was surprised several weeks ago by an unanticipated and anonymous gift.
Reeves, a good neighbor herself, regularly takes a blind friend to get pedicures. She usually gets one, too. But money got tight for the 77-year-old, so in July when she took her neighbor in, she told the beautician, "I'm not having mine done because I can't afford it for a while."
When she returned to pick up her friend, she found a gift certificate waiting for her. There was no name for the giver, but Beverly is sure it's a woman who overheard her "because there were no men in the place." She wishes she could thank the anonymous giver.
"I just had a hip replacement, so it was hard to do my own pedicure," she said. "You hear so much bad stuff going on, and yet good things still happen, and at the time least expected. People care; their heart's in the right place. It was fantastic."
Gail Brockett of Modesto had a good thing happen to her a few weeks ago.
"After a fasting blood test, I stopped by Grocery Outlet on Prescott Road," she said. "My focus was on bringing up my blood sugar, and I left my purse in the cart."
Later, she returned to the store and asked if anyone had found it. "The staff and management had the purse locked in their safe," she said. She said she's very grateful for the store's "outstanding customer service."
Do you have a story about someone who has helped others or is a terrific role model? Send a brief item to Sue Nowicki at P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.