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Good Neighbors: Give 'em credit: Restaurant changes customer's fortunes

John Mulgrew of San Leandro said he drives to Modesto every other weekend to visit his children. One recent Saturday, he and his family had lunch at North China Town.

The food, he said, was fresh, fast and abundant. But what made him "a customer for life" is that when he left his credit card behind, his waitress picked it up and kept it for him "even though she had no way to contact me.

"In a country where people have become afraid of other people and ID theft is prevalent, I cannot express how glad I was to call and find out that she had taken care of me," he said.

"I'm sure there are other people out there who will appreciate this breath of fresh air."

Sylvia Kallmann of Denair wrote about a recent experience she had at the Save Mart supermarket on Oakdale Road. She said as she waited in line to check out, she spoke briefly with a young man in front of her.

"I noticed the checker ringing up my items together with the groceries purchased by the young man," said Sylvia, 83. "I immediately called this to her attention. She just smiled and said the man ahead of me had paid for my groceries.

"I asked her why he had paid for my groceries and she said, 'I just think he wanted to do a good deed.' I turned around and he was gone. I didn't have a chance to thank him."

She's hoping he will read this and receive her thanks "for his kindness."

Hannah Hovestol, 7, is a bright, home-schooled student who had curly blond hair down to her waist. But no longer.

Two weeks ago, the Modesto girl and her cousin, Katya Flores, 9, of Ceres, trimmed their hair to donate it to Locks of Love, a nonprofit agency that makes wigs for children who have lost their hair because of cancer treatments and other diseases.

Asked why she decided to donate her hair, Hannah replied, "Because, you know, the people who have cancer don't have hair. They need hair so they can have a smile on their face. My hair can grow back again."

Hannah and Katya, who sported long, straight, dark-brown hair before the trim at Salon Salon, are two of a growing list of area children and adults who have donated hair to Locks of Love. To find out more about the organization and the specifics of donating hair, visit or call toll free at 888-896-1588.

Dave Gaddy is one of six drivers who work for the county's Child Protective Services, taking children to doctor appointments, visits to parents and siblings and other places. The drivers often carry candy or stuffed animals to give to younger children to keep or to play with during the drives.

Gaddy got a phone call from Bright Homes, asking him to stop by its offices just before Christmas. The Bright Homes staff gave him about 75 stuffed animals to spread among the drivers for the children.

"To some of these kids, that was their only (Christmas) gift," Dave said. "They put a lot of smiles on the children's faces."

To comment, click on the link with this story at 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 send an e-mail to