The kindness
of strangers

Editor of the Reformer:

Recently, I unknowingly dropped my wallet while carrying my young daughter out of Tulip Cafe in Brattleboro. We crossed the street to go into Altiplano, and I didn’t realize my wallet was missing for about 10 minutes. We made a hasty exit to run back across the street.

Before going back into the cafe, I was greeted by two onlookers: They’d noticed that my wallet had fallen out of my pocket just outside the door. A third man, who was nowhere in sight, had picked it up, promising to bring it to the police station. My daughter and I hurried off, but after waiting at the station for a while to no avail, I left my name and phone number and started to head home. As I was buckling my daughter into her car seat, the police dispatcher ran outside to say he was on the phone with Walter French, an attorney in town who’d found my wallet and had it with him at his office on Elliott Street.

The police dispatcher’s face echoed my surprise. A wallet first lost, then found, and quickly returned isn’t a story you hear everyday. Too often, today’s headlines report one disaster after another: Perpetual war, ongoing political battles, continued economic hardship, impending environmental catastrophe. Sometimes, when confronted with the enormity of these problems, I’m filled with despair. I forget there are also stories that are worth celebrating every day.


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Thank you to the customers and staff at Tulip Cafe, to the Brattleboro police dispatchers, and especially to Walter French for helping retrieve my wallet and reminding me about the simple kindness of strangers.

Abigail Mnookin,

Brattleboro, March 18

Get healthy in the spring

Editor of the Reformer:

After several months of crippling snowstorms and flooding, I really look forward to spring weather, green grass, and flowers in bloom.

The advent of spring is also a great opportunity to turn over a new leaf on our dietary and exercise habits. In fact, I’ve been told that hundreds of communities celebrate the advent of spring with something called the Great American Meatout.

Local health advocates host educational events, where they ask visitors to get a fresh start this spring with a healthy diet of vegetables, fresh fruits, legumes, and whole grains. For those who need a little encouragement, their website provides useful information and a chance to pledge a healthy diet for one day or more.

Kyle Roberts,

Brattleboro, March 19

I want to know

Editor of the Reformer:

As a concerned citizen of Vermont, I want to know what ingredients are in the food I eat. The health and safety of GMO seeds and food produced from GMO food sources has not been proven to my satisfaction. I want a choice. I want the state to demand that food products sold in Vermont be labeled as containing GMO products if that is the case. It’s fine for Vermont’s people to buy GMO produced products, but it is our right to know what is in our food. I urge the state Senate to pass the GMO labeling act and I urge Gov. Peter Shumlin to sign it into law.

Stephen Stearns,

Brattleboro, March 24