The Kindness of Strangers

Like it or not, we all depend on the kindness of strangers in life. You know what I mean – the young girl in the store who hands you back a $10.00 bill when you have given her too much money for your purchase. The lady who stops traffic for the duck family when she sees them crossing the street. The neighbor who brings you kid’s ball back to them when it goes across the street into his yard so they don’t have to cross the street. The waitress who runs after you because you left your cell phone on the table. You know what I mean.

FQ1A1306Today, a stranger returned my wallet that I lost 3 months ago in Northampton. I lost it at night – it fell out of my purse as I was dashing from my car to meet a friend. Once I realized that I did not have my wallet, I went out to the parking lot where I was sure that I had lost it but it was not there. Ransacked my car and purse, too. I went home and contacted several restaurants in the vicinity, but no one had turned it in. I kept my eye on my credit card purchases on-line for a few hours in case someone used the card, but no one did.

I waited a few more hours before cancelling my credit cards and notifying the Police. I returned the next morning to the place where I lost my wallet, but snow had come in overnight and the plows had already been there. I went back there a few more times, too, in better weather, but found nothing.

From that time forward I was never contacted by someone who had found my wallet. Nor did anything nefarious seen to occur because of this loss. I wondered about my wallet but was grateful that all it proved to be was a minor inconvenience. I was fortunate.

Today, I found a manila envelope with my name on it neatly placed in my mailbox. I thought it was perhaps something silly from a friend or neighbor. Instead, there was my wallet and a small note.

It was just as I last saw it – no scratches, no water stains, no damage of any kind. It was still soft and plump as ever from all the receipts and the this-and-that I stuff into it. I was thrilled to feel its smooth black leather which has developed a nice patina. I had begun the search for a new wallet recently but could not find one to measure up to this one.

I opened my wallet and surveyed the contents – all my credit cards ( now worthless ) were there, my prize discount card from a local frame shop, a points card from my local used book store, my driver’s license, medical card, grocery store cards, etc, all present and accounted for. Appointment cards for appointments past. Even the money was still there.

The whereabouts of my wallet still has an air of mystery about it. I may never know where it has been for 3 months nor the name of the person who so kindly returned it to me. It doesn’t appear to have been exposed to the rough winter weather, but I am sure that I lost it outside.

I only know that a stranger with a good heart drove a good far piece to the address on my driver’s license and did the right thing. The note inside of the envelope only said ” FOUND THIS IN NORTHAMPTON.’

I have no way to thank them, but I guess that was their goal. If they wanted thanks or a reward, they would have known what to do. I will keep this good karma going and donate the money that was in my wallet (plus a bit extra) to our local animal shelter.

For this kind stranger, doing something honest for someone else was as natural as breathing out and breathing in. We need more of this in today’s world.

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