DEAR ABBY: Our financial adviser, “Wally,” who has managed our finances for a number of years, sent us a letter asking us to donate to a charity he is starting.

We feel like we are being held hostage because he knows how much money we have and how we spend it. We feel Wally has crossed the line of professionalism. What do you think, and what should we do? – SOLICITED IN OHIO

You are entitled to your feelings, and here’s how to handle it. Write Wally a small check for his new charity and enclose with it a short note wishing him success with his newfound cause. Close by telling him that everyone has causes that are close to their hearts – including you and your husband – and because you know this one is important to him, you are sending him a ONE-TIME donation. If he solicits you after that, find another financial adviser.

DEAR ABBY: I’m 15 and live with my mom. We often paint our nails. The problem is, my mom shakes the nail polish worse than anyone. I heard recently that shaking a bottle of nail polish creates air bubbles and makes the polish thinner. (This came from a professional manicurist.) But my mom won’t believe. She thinks this professional is crazy. Can you please tell everyone that there is a reason why you never see manicurists shake their bottles? It’s a horrible habit, and it drives me nuts. – PEEVED IN GREENVILLE, N.C.

Before judging your mother so harshly, you might be wise to talk to more than one professional manicurist about what causes bubbles. I have seen many professional manicurists shake the bottles of polish before applying it to their clients. And I have been told that applying polish that is not fresh, or applying it too thickly can cause it to bubble.

DEAR ABBY: The letters I see you print about “acts of kindness” always give me a lift, so I thought I’d tell you about mine.

I was nine months pregnant and had a few errands to run – taking some clothes to the Laundromat, cashing my husband’s paycheck, etc.

While I was transferring my laundry from the washing machine to the dryer, I turned around to find that my purses, detergent and a magazine I had been reading were all missing. I frantically searched everywhere, including the trash bins inside and outside. Because I had just cashed the paycheck, the thieves got away with almost $600 in cash.

A woman who had just walked in and witnessed my frantic search, came over and handed me $20 to “get by.” Being stressed out and hormonal, I was floored by her kind gesture and started to cry. She gave me a big hug, and her kindness got me through the day.

I went into labor that night and gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl. I will never forget the woman’s gentle nature, or the fact that even though I was victimized by someone who couldn’t miss the fact that I was extremely pregnant, I also encountered an act of kindness. I hope she knows what a difference she made and that I still remember her, 15 years later. – CHRISTY IN GREELEY, COLO.

Considering the fact that you not only got a hug and $20, but also a priceless bundle of joy from heaven, I’d have to say you came out a winner that day, wouldn’t you?

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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