A few days ago, I took a different route home. I didn’t know why but I felt the urge to walk down a street I don’t travel often. At the intersection, I spied something in the middle of the road and I passed it by, like everyone else did. But then I crossed the street again and picked it up because no one else did. It was very clearly someone’s wallet. One of those tiny coin holder things made to fit a couple of cards and a few bills. I opened it up and sure it enough, there was a little over $30 in cash and coins, and about 5 cards. I looked at the ID to match it with the faces milling around, then rooted around for a card with a telephone number, a business card, maybe? Finding nothing, I dropped the little coinlet in my purse and continued along my way.
The next day, I went to the post office and exchanged the cash for a money order, wrote the young man’s name on it, put everything in an envelope and mailed it to him. Last week was his birthday. His identification card says he turned 21 in April. I imagine he’s probably anxious to get his ID card back so he can switch it for the one without the Under 21 stamp on it. But I bet he’ll be surprised to open up the mail in a couple days and find an envelope containing everything he lost on the street, especially not the money he’s probably sure he’ll never see again.
It would be easy enough to not do anything, I guess. I mean, several other people at that intersection walked around and walked over and even stepped on this young man’s belongings, not noticing, not caring. It probably would have been easy for me to just ignore it too, except I remember when someone did that for me.
Remember when I lost my iPad in the store? Click to read that story.
It’s easy to do nothing. Sometimes kindness takes a little effort but it’s always worth it. A few months ago, I read Tennessee Williams’ play, A Streetcar Named Desire which includes Blanche’s oft-quoted line, I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers. It’s nice to dream about a world where strangers are nice but aren’t we strangers too? Shouldn’t we also be nice to the people around us?
When was the last time someone went out of their way to help you? How did it feel?