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Let Teenagers Prove Themselves

Dear Ann Landers: I am a 16-year-old girl who is tired of dealing with teenage discrimination. It is something that I and many other teenagers face every day, and we are sick of it.

Whenever I go into a store - it doesn’t matter if it is a convenience store, a clothing store or even a video store - someone follows me around to make sure I don’t steal anything. This is insulting. Another recurring problem happens when I go to a restaurant with friends. Teenagers always get horrible service because the waiter or waitress assumes we will leave a poor tip. I have never failed to leave at least 15 percent, and my friends do the same - even if the service isn’t great.

Please let your readers know that if adults don’t give teenagers a chance, we cannot prove that we are honest and decent. - Bay Shore, N.Y.

Dear Bay Shore: You have written a letter that deserves to be taken seriously. I don’t blame you for feeling resentful. You sound honest and decent to me. How about it, folks - let’s give these teenagers a break. If we assume they are OK and give them something to live up to, at least 90 percent of them will meet the challenge.

Dear Ann Landers: Now that the tears have dried, perhaps people all over the world can start to think rationally about Princess Diana’s death. I was very disturbed by the glaring omission in the press reports.

According to the reports from Paris, of the four people in the car that night, only one was wearing a seat belt - Dodi Fayed’s bodyguard, who occupied the passenger seat in front with the driver. He was also the only survivor.

I can’t help but think that despite a drunk driver, being pursued by photographers and whatever else may have contributed to that awful crash, if the princess and her companions had taken two seconds to buckle up, we might have prayed for her recovery instead of being filled with grief over her death and the two young sons she left behind. - Faithful Reader in Wilmington, N.C.

Dear Wilmington: You have zeroed in on a very important point. I, too, wondered why more was not written about the seat-belt issue. Thank you for calling this vital matter to the attention of my readers. I’m sure many more will buckle up because you wrote.

Dear Ann Landers: I recently read your article about elderly drivers.

Several years ago, my mother, age 83, informed me that she and her gentleman friend (who couldn’t read a road map and refused to wear his glasses) would be driving down to Florida. I said, “Over my dead body.” Mother replied, “We’ve had good, full, long lives. If anything were to happen to us, I wouldn’t want you to be too upset.”

I told her I wasn’t worried about them. I was worried about the mother, father and children they might take with them if they had a terrible accident. My mother said she had never thought of it that way. They flew to Florida instead.

Soon after, Mom read that a 91-year-old man lost control of his car and killed one of his friends. The next day, she sold her car and gave up driving.

I know I’ll hate to give up my car, but when the time comes, I will do it because I’ve been there and seen that. - Richmond Heights, Ohio

Dear Ohio: A bouquet of orchids to your dear mom for putting the safety of others ahead of her wish for convenience. It would be wonderful if more elderly drivers made that decision voluntarily instead of waiting until something terrible happened.