I WAS THE recipient of a random act of kindness recently. I work in retail, and a man and a woman came up to my register. The man asked to get a gift card for a very generous amount of money. I couldn't mask my surprise and he said, "Is that not enough?" I just told him that the person getting it was very lucky because not too many people can afford to put that much on a card. After he paid, he turned to the woman with him and decided to purchase one for her.

Then, he got a third one and said, "This is for someone I just met, so I'm going to put $100 on it." After I rung it up, he handed the last bag right back to me and said, "This one's for you. Merry Christmas."

I had tears in my eyes as I gave him a hug and thanked him profusely.

I am still smiling at the fact that he did something so nice for a complete stranger. I didn't even know his name. What a wonderful thing to do, especially during this time of year. If you're reading this, you know who you are, and I thank you again. May God bless you.

Merry Christmas!

Francesca Schiavo, Philadelphia

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Back off Vick

It is time to forgive Mike Vick. None of the haters who continue to bombard Vick with hate are above our almighty father, so give this man a break. God is the only one who can judge this man. He has paid his debt, by serving two years in prison, to society (which is us) and I say he is a man who deserves a second chance! Don't try to act like you haven't done something you know was wrong.

In fact, I love animals too, but I say where is the outrage when people kill harmless babies? Nothing is said; but harm a dog and all of you lose your minds. A father smothers his 4-week-old baby for crying too much, and I didn't see a word of outrage about that!

Vick has repented and apologized - stop your pathetic hatred and find forgiveness and pay more attention to men and women who kill innocent, cute little babies. Dogs do kill, but babies don't! Give it a break. God bless you, Vick, for accepting responsibility for your actions. I am praying for you.

Leisa Jacobs-Graham, Philadelphia nolead ends

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The benefit of tax dollars

As I recall in the not too distant past, there was not much whining about taxes. There seemed to be the understanding that the subject of national economics was too large to be broken down into specific querulous certitudes and that while it was not possible that you personally should be at all times the immediate beneficiary of a particular government program, you might be an indirect beneficiary, or an ultimate beneficiary.

Now, times seemingly have changed. Whenever some infrastructure improvement is proposed, or a safety net protection for lower incomes, the cry goes up, "Who pays for that?" The answer is "everybody" - the same group who benefits.

Jim Hunter, Philadelphia