Dear Readers: The letter about a woman spotting an elderly, STRANDED FEMALE MOTORIST and not knowing how to help inspired a mountain of mail. Read on for some responses:
* I was raised to never stop to help a stranded motorist, but to stop at the closest store or gas station to make a call to an enforcement agency. During all my driving years, I would notice cars along the side of the road, but I never stopped. -- Marilyn, via e-mail
* I definitely would not stop to help a motorist. It is just not safe anymore! However, I do have that subscription-based in-vehicle security system in my car, and I would push that little button to ask them to send help to someone. -- Joan, via e-mail
* Would I help a stranded motorist? Yes -- I have, eight times, and I would again! -- Mary Ann, age 75, in Rochester, Minn.
* Shelly and her husband should be ashamed. An elderly woman looking distressed, and not stopping? Really? Unsafe? How unsafe do you think it was for the elderly woman being there by herself? This is what is wrong with our society. Common courtesy is practically extinct because of this type of thinking. They could have called someone and stayed with this woman until help came. -- Beatrice in Westlake Village, Calif.
* Before cellphones, I exited the freeway around 9 p.m. and saw a man sitting on the curb next to a motorcycle. It looked as if he needed help. I was a few blocks from home, so I phoned our police department. They told me I was right not to stop, and they’d send someone to check on him. Even if the person looked sweet and elderly, it could be a setup to get someone to stop. Never stop, but do notify the police. -- Penny, via e-mail
* I would consider the elderly woman to be in danger. She was outside her vehicle, perhaps having a medical problem, or her car had run out of gas. As a careful person, I would not have stopped if I was alone. I would have called the police nonemergency number to report her problem. -- Janet in Montana
Thanks for your comments. It’s important to consider your own safety first. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: In a recent column, you ran letters from well-meaning shoppers who tried on clothes, then returned them to the rack to save the clerks from having to perform this chore. One thing to keep in mind is that if everyone returned his or her clothes to the rack, I would not have a job! -- John, via e-mail
John, I doubt that will happen! -- Heloise
Dear Readers: Have lots of small totes and bags that hold free gifts from department-store cosmetics counters? Use them to wrap little “girlfriend gifts” instead of traditional bags and tissue paper. Two gifts instead of one! -- Heloise
Send a hint to