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Karma Cleanser

Dear Karma Cleanser:
I was in the drive-thru window at a fast-food restaurant trying to decide between value meal number one and two. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a lady in a red PT Cruiser coming around the corner faster than a herd of elephants.

I braced for impact and heard her tires squeal, but it was too late. She hit my rear bumper with a loud clang. I got out and had a look at the damage, which actually was not that bad -- just a little paint knocked off one edge of my bumper.

The woman was frantic and got out of her car screaming and asking if I was OK. I was fine.

I told her we should exchange insurance information, since there was a dent in her bumper and mine had some minor paint damage. But then the lady started to cry. She said that she did not have insurance and had just lost her job last week. She asked if she could give me some money for the damage. I reluctantly agreed, and she wrote me a check for $100. She also bought my value meal.

The next day I took her check to my bank and discovered that her account had been closed. If the lady is telling the truth and really did just lose her job, do I get good karma points for not calling the police on her? Or is this bad karma coming my way, even though my car is not that damaged?

-- Unhappy Meal

Maybe both. Since your damage was minor, give her the benefit of the doubt this time. It sounds like you actually came out ahead, even if a cold hamburger doesn't make up for the hassle you've gone through.

Dear Karma Cleanser:
In the Dumpster behind my place of work, we sometimes see a homeless man digging for food. This Christmas the people in my office took up a collection and left him a gift basket, with canned goods, a blanket and some mittens.

The next day, some others in the office made a fuss about us leaving the basket for the man. They said we were not doing him any favors by just handing him food, and the gesture would cause him to come around more often.

This upset me greatly. I can't help but think those who would protest such a gesture of goodwill are only asking the universe for punishment. What do you think?

-- Santa's Helper

We say true charity should know no season. You get kudos for this act of generosity -- office naysayers be damned. Don't fall into the Judeo-Christian trap of only acting decent toward people when the calendar's on December.

Been bad?

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