When I was in kindergarten, we had a whole lesson about what to do when you find a lost wallet. We acted out make-believe scenarios in which one of us would be the person who drops the wallet, one would be the person who finds it and another would be the officer at the police station. Funny, we never talked about taking it to the front counter of a store or leaving at the reception desk. We always took it straight to the police station.
In our little plays, we got to peek inside the wallet. Looking at that colorful monopoly money would make our fingers tingle. Would it be okay to take a little for ourselves? No, our teacher would gently remind us. All the money needs to go back to the owner.
Thinking back on that lesson of integrity, it just seems so simple. You find something that belongs to someone else and you return it to them. But we all know, that’s not always the case. Sometimes the temptation to play Finder’s Keepers takes over.
A reader named Julie saw the good win out and she wanted to share her story in hopes of thanking the person who did the right thing.
I was having a busy afternoon driving around Fargo doing errands before meeting up with friends to see a Friday night movie. I was at Barnes & Noble when I got a text that everyone was waiting for me at the movie theatre. I quickly took off and connected with my friends, but when I dug in my purse for my wallet, it wasn’t there. My credit cards, driver’s license and about $50 in cash were missing. I had a panicky feeling, but decided it must have fallen out in my car.
After I searched my car with no luck, I concluded that it had to be at the bookstore. I drove back there hoping an employee had picked it up. When I asked if there was a lost and found, the employee asked if my name was Julie. I was so relieved to get my wallet returned fully intact! When I inquired as to where it was found, he responded that someone found it laying in the parking lot and made the assumption that a shopper from Barnes & Noble had dropped it and brought it in for safekeeping. I hope that ‘someone’ reads this story and accepts my sincere thanks. There are good people in this community and often we don’t get the opportunity to thank them personally.
By the way, after all the dashing around, I was able to get seated with my friends during the last preview in time to see La La Land, the perfect movie to destress after my ordeal!
The funny thing is, I was in the checkout line at Barnes & Noble with a Buddha Board, which is a serenity board based on the Zen concept of living in the moment. When I got the text that my friends were waiting for me, I put the board back and rushed out of the store! Ironic isn’t it? I’m tempted to buy a board to promote serenity as I’m scrambling around to keep my schedule!
Another bit of info: I, along with most of the friends I was meeting, am a widow. We are single gals in our young 60s uniting together to get out and have fun. We have become a good support system for each other. Some lost their husbands to long ordeals like cancer and MS whereas my husband died suddenly to a brain hemorrhage. We are all dealing with a change in our life that we didn’t expect and weren’t prepared for but find comfort in doing things together.”
The kindness of a stranger not only allowed Julie to make it to the movie, but it also allowed her to share in the kindness of friendship.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. Her column runs every Saturday. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.