Victoria Vladimirsky didn’t have to follow Sandy Kaufman out of the Valley Indoor Swap Meet to give her a silver bracelet engraved with angels – but she did. Sandy Borenstein and Robyn Love didn’t have to volunteer for hours at Winnetka Avenue Elementary School to help a group of low-income students fulfill their dreams – but they did. And construction worker Louis Madrigal didn’t have to help Beau Yeakel preserve his father’s memory and a chunk of his family’s history – but he did. So the next time someone tells you the San Fernando Valley is a big, impersonal place where strangers don’t care, show the person this column. “I paid for the picture frame and was walking out of the swap meet when I felt this tap on my shoulder,” Kaufman said. “It was the owner of the booth. She had tears in her eyes and a silver bracelet in her hand.” “Please, take this,” Vladimirsky said. “The angels will watch over and protect you.” Kaufman thanked and hugged the booth owner, then drove home, crying all the way, she said. “With all the garbage going on in the world and our own city, this was a totally unexpected act of compassion and kindness from a stranger,” she said. “I was shocked and touched.” Racheal Kamulali, a 10-year-old from Africa, cradled the rag doll as if it were the most valuable thing she owned. It was. “I have one doll at home; now I have two,” said the fifth-grader at Winnetka Avenue Elementary. “But this one is special. I made her.” This doll was her baby, made with her own hands with the help of Borenstein and Love, who showed up at the school in November and offered to teach any student – girl or boy – how to make a doll. Two boys signed up for the after-school program, but eventually dropped out. Nine girls stayed. “In an era of Ken and Barbie and dolls that cost so much, what these women gave us was a totally unexpected gift for some little girls who don’t have a lot,” Winnetka Principal Maria Villasenor said. Borenstein and Love bought the supplies and materials and spent four months helping the girls until they took their rag dolls home from school last week. Class act, ladies. Yeakel’s uncle, Frank Cordon, persuaded his nephew to give it a shot. Maybe the construction workers tearing up the sidewalk for a residential development would actually care about the Yeakel family memory they were about to destroy: a slab of sidewalk concrete in the 5200 block of Lankershim Boulevard, where Yeakel and Goss – one of the San Fernando Valley’s first department stores – was once located. “My grandfather opened it in 1921, and then my dad took it over,” Yeakel said. “In 1938, he put his name, date and footprint in the fresh concrete they were pouring for the sidewalk out front.” Nearly 70 years later, the concrete was being removed, and Yeakel went looking for someone who might care that a little piece of sidewalk meant something to his family. He found Madrigal, a foreman on the job, who said he wasn’t promising anything but would do what he could. “I kept thinking if this was my family, I’d want that old piece of sidewalk for my kids and grandkids,” Madrigal said. “I think most people would.” When the bulldozers showed up a few days later to dig up the sidewalk, one square of concrete was missing. It was in a shed in the rear of the construction site with a note taped on it: “Save for the Yeakel family.” Victoria Vladimirsky, Louis Madrigal, Sandy Borenstein and Robyn Love didn’t have to do any of the things they did. But they did. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Dennis McCarthy, (818) 713-3749 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant The picture frame at the swap meet in Woodland Hills cost more than Kaufman wanted to spend, but she just had to have it. “I’m really splurging here,” the North Hollywood woman said as she wrote out a check to the booth’s owner, Vladimirsky. The Russian immigrant smiled. “I know it’s expensive,” she said, “but sometimes you have to treat yourself because you never know what tomorrow will bring.” Exactly, Kaufman replied, telling Vladimirsky about her successful surgery last summer to remove a benign brain tumor. She pointed to the letters on her sweat shirt – Meningioma Mommas – an online support group for those with meningioma tumors.