Inspired by a conversation at work today, I thought I would tell you 3 stories of things lost and found.
1. A Great Time at Great America
I was at Great America with some friends – I think this was in high school or maybe right afterwards. We were walking through the park when we saw a cell phone behind a chain link fence, under a roller coaster. We somehow fished it out, and I really wanted to be a hero, so I called “Mom” in the phone and explained the situation. The mom asked me to take the phone to the information booth at the front of the park, and she would call her son’s friend and tell him where to pick it up.
That wasn’t really enough to call myself a hero, so I didn’t take it to the info booth right away. And before we’d gotten around to it, the phone was ringing and I answered it. It was the kid calling from his friend’s phone, and he was happy that I’d found it, and we all agreed to meet up at the Drop Zone. We gave him the phone back and everyone was happy. What a great day! (In retrospect, yeah, the safe and appropriate thing to do would have been to take the phone to the information booth. But whatever, it all worked out.)
2. Milka: Does a Body Good
While in college at Davis, I was walking across campus when I spotted a wallet on the ground. It had very little info inside, but there was a student ID. When I got back to my room, I used the ID to look up the student’s Davis email address, and I sent her a message. She called me, very happy, and asked if I could possibly drop off her wallet the next day. It was a Friday, and I had no classes, but I said yes. Then she asked if I could drop it off before 10am, because she was leaving for a weekend in Tahoe with her friends. Ten sounded very early (I’m rolling my eyes at myself right now) but I said yes again, and she told me where her office was located.
She was a grad student in the German and Russian department, and I found her pretty easily. She was ecstatic, and offered me twenty bucks. I turned it down. Then she said, “Well, how about some chocolate? I bring this back from Germany, you can’t get it here,” and she gave me a Milka bar. It was plum and cinnamon, except it wasn’t even in English. It was delicious, and Drew and I have looked all over, and never found that flavor again. We still talk about “the best Milka bar.”
3. The Ungrateful Salad Eater
In New York, I worked as a cashier at a little lunch place that served primarily salads and sandwiches. One day, one of the guys who worked there found a purse that someone had left upstairs. I looked through the bag and found a paystub, and called the company and asked for the woman whose name was on it. When I told her that I had her purse, she responded very calmly. “Oh, okay.” Then I told her just to come pick it up whenever.
I noticed, when looking for her ID, that there were bunches of bills stuffed all over the place – it was super messy but there seemed to be a lot of money just haphazardly shoved in there. But I didn’t take any of it. Because morals. And then finally – FINALLY – this woman showed up, looking really bored, and just took the purse and kind of wandered away. No thank you. No gratitude. No relief. No offer of “reward.” And I sort of regretted not taking at least ten bucks for my trouble.
So there you have it. Two stories have happy endings; the third is a lesson in doing the right thing even when no one cares what you do.