Intact. Ninety percent battery. Most recent call: yesterday, to “mom”.
I scrolled through the contacts and saw “Charles/husband/home”. I dialed the number and left a message. I tucked the phone into my bag and finished my ride.
When I got back to my car, I checked the messages and saw that, sure enough, Charles had called back.
He was right down the road, so he came and picked up the phone.
I’m always excited when I get the chance to reunite a possession of value with its owner.
I’ve never been very good at keeping track of my own belongings. I’m easily distracted. It’s embarrassing to think about the number of times I’ve left my wallet or purse behind.
In all the those times, I’ve never had anything stolen. Not once.
In fact, the only thing I’ve ever experienced is people going out of their way to return my things to me.
It’s truly remarkable to think about.
In college I left my wallet in the Laundromat (the LAUNDROMAT!) It contained all of the cash I’d made waiting tables that weekend. My ID wasn’t even in the wallet, but my Blockbuster card was. The person who found it called the local Blockbuster to get my phone number and returned it (and all my cash) to me.
A few years later, when I was backpacking in Georgia, I stopped in a small town to resupply. I got some food at McDonald’s, and sat outside on the curb to eat because I hadn’t showered in five days. I got up and left the Ziploc bag (which doubled as my wallet) with all my money, bank card and ID sitting on the curb. I didn’t realize it until I got to the hostel and needed to pay. By the time I got a ride back to the McDonald’s, it was gone.
I borrowed money from a fellow hiker to pay for the hostel and put off calling my mother (this was long before anybody in my family had a cell phone) until later that night. I wasn’t looking forward to telling her that I had lost all my money, my ID and my bank card and I needed her to come pick me up.
Later that night, after I’d finally mustered up the courage to make the call, she answered the phone absolutely frantic. My parents had gotten a call from the police earlier that day. They had been told that some of my possessions had been found down in Georgia, and turned into the police.
They thought that I had been abducted. Or killed.
But no, their airhead of a daughter had left all of her money on a curb and some very kind person had just wanted to make sure that it was returned to her.
There were other times, too. I’ve left my purse in a deli in Ocean City, a Bojangle’s in Roanoke and a bagel shop in Williamsburg.
It was always there when I went back.
I keep thinking that my luck is bound to run out.
But so far, it hasn’t.
People’s honesty and their willingness to go out of their way to return my things to me has astounded me and filled me with gratitude.
I feel like an irresponsible idiot who is past due for a life lesson.
So I am always thrilled when I find something and am able to return it.
I’m glad I went for a bike ride this morning (even if I would have preferred a run).