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THE WORST OF TIMES TURNS INTO THE BEST

Buffalo police visited a Smith Street house twice Friday, first because of people acting badly and then because of people acting their best.

In the end, a troubled family will celebrate the holidays in fine fashion, thanks to the kindness of strangers.

It started when Precinct 11 Officers Ronnie Daniels and Steve Stribing investigated a domestic-violence call shortly after noon on Smith Street, where a 28-year-old woman told police that her husband had hit her and run from the house after the incident, Daniels said.

The officers issued a warrant for the husband's arrest but left the home struck by what they had not seen.

"There were five or six kids in that house, and they had nothing for Christmas: no tree, no decorations, no gifts -- nothing," he said.

A few hours later, as though on cue, two unidentified women walked into the precinct with 15 shopping bags filled with groceries, toys and a request. They had come from Ontario to Buffalo with a plan to buy the goods and donate them to a needy family. They asked the officers to help.

So Daniels, Stribing and the women showed up with the bags unannounced at the Smith Street woman's door.

"It was really nice," Daniels said. "She was blown away and just started crying."