Years ago, before iPhones existed (hard to believe, I know) I left my iPod, one I could not afford to replace, in a hotel room in San Francisco. I never thought I'd see it again but I called the hotel anyway, they transferred me to housekeeping and I told them I'd lost it and if they found it, could they let me know? I kind of figured that would be the last I'd hear of it, but later that day I got a call from a woman who cleaned the room. She offered to send it along to me and I got it in a FedEx package two days later. When I wrote the hotel to thank them for their wonderful staff and honesty, the manager told me he didn't know a thing about it and thanked me for letting him know. That woman had mailed it to me of her own volition. She was a good, honest person who did a nice thing for a stranger, just because.
Everyone has had a few of these chance occurrences in their life, when we are struck by the blatant kindness of other people. Good Samaritans, doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do.
And yet when my laptop went missing a couple months ago, I assumed whoever stole it had stolen it for good. Maybe whoever took it didn't know what they had, but they had filched a nice Macbook with a lot of great software on it for a photographer/videographer. Probably not super useful to the average person, but definitely vital to my daily job and too expensive to replace. It was a huge loss when it was taken, not just financially but it really made my job a lot harder when it was gone. So many times over the past couple months, I have felt frustrated and depressed by the fact that whatever I was doing would have been so much quicker, easier, simpler, had I had the laptop with my files, software and necessities on it.
But most importantly, I was incredibly saddened that someone would steal it. I know that may be naive or idealistic, but it truly shocked me when it happened. I know people get desperate and sometimes that can make them do desperate things, but this didn't feel like desperation. This felt like an opportunity taken advantage of by a dishonest person. They saw something portable and expensive, and they took it. I know good people can make bad decisions, and I hoped that this was what happened.
I hoped, for two months, that they would regret it. That their conscience was waking them up at night. That maybe it would come back to me, through chance or guilt or plain luck.
And somehow, it did.
Last night, I got a call that someone had found my laptop. Two months after it was stolen, and not only did someone find it, but was able to get into it, find a phone number of a friend (in Massachusetts! of all places) and that friend contacted me with the guy's phone number. I called the guy, went to his house and picked it up. It's working and seems to be in decent condition.
I was pretty much in shock for the rest of the evening because of this unexpected turn of events. I had gotten my laptop back. Whether it was because someone felt guilty, or couldn't find a way to sell it, or was caught with it and forced to return it by a more honest person, I really have no idea. But I am eternally grateful that somehow, some way, it came back to me.
The guy who returned it to me didn't have to return it, but he did. And I'm so grateful, not just because I got the laptop back with all my work on it, but because it made me feel optimistic about the basic goodness in people again.
I can only hope that whoever took it is just a decent person who made a mistake and won't make it again because at the end of the day, we could all use more kindness and more faith in each other. And sometimes we get just that, with a little help from fate, or luck, or whatever it may be, that can bring something back to us that never should have been gone in the first place.
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