Something Lost, Something Gained
I saw something out my car window this morning as I was stopped on the street corner, waiting to make a right turn.
“Was that a pack of cigarettes or something else — say, a cell phone — on the ground?” I wondered.
Curious, I hopped out of the car and picked it up. It was an iPhone. Now what? I was already late for my yoga class. It was raining. The phone was on the street where the next car could run over it. “Should I leave it?” I mused. “They may come back for it. No, it may be too late by then. It will be ruined by the rain or smashed by a car.” I picked it up, wiped it off and placed it in my car.
All through my yoga class, the nagging thought of the iPhone kept returning. How would I get it back to the owner? Then inspiration came. I got home, made a homemade sign, placed it in a Ziploc bag and hung it from a tree near the corner where I found it. Then I went back to work. I talked to my mother. “I think I shouldn’t have picked up this phone,” I said. “No,” she said. “You did the right thing.”
I kept seeing messages pop up on the phone, people were looking for it, but I couldn’t reply to them because the phone had a security code. I saw that the carrier was T-Mobile. I searched for the nearest branch and called. “Yes,” the T-Mobile person said, “we can probably find the owner, if you bring it in.”
I took off in my car for the T-Mobile office, and when I pulled into the parking lot, I got a call on the lost phone. I swiped my finger to answer the call, thinking I would be denied access, but I was connected. “I have your phone,” I said, feeling like a thief.
A woman’s face appeared. “That is my daughter’s phone,” she said.
“I am about to return it to the T-mobile shop, but do you live in my neighborhood? I can head home and return it to you.”
We met on the corner where the phone was dropped. She was so relieved. “Thank you,” she said. “You do not know how worried I’ve been.”
I know,” I said. “I have children.” I liked her instantly. I connected to her worry as a mom.
Her daughter had lost it and, after a while, they figured out she had dropped it on this corner.
She thanked me for my honesty. I told her not to be hard on her daughter. “They are scatterbrained at that age,” I said, telling her I had a teenager. I told her that I felt a connection with the owner of the phone because its cover had an Eiffel Tower image and the word “Paris.” That is my mother’s hometown. She told me she wanted to visit Paris.
I went back to work, but I had to call my mother to tell her that I had managed to return the phone and that she was right: I was glad I had picked it up, even though it had caused me angst.
Later, I was standing in my doorway talking to my mother on Facetime, when a white SUV pulled up. Out hopped the mom again, this time she was carrying a beautiful edible bouquet. It was for me!
What an extravagant gift! I thanked her and introduced her to my mother on Facetime. It was so nice that they got to meet, even if it was virtually.
I hung up with my mother, and the mom and I chatted. I told her that, over the years, my children had lost their retainers in wads of tissue paper, and that we had had to root through garbage to find them! We laughed.
I told her that she didn’t need to give me a gift, and that this one was “over the top!” Nevertheless, I told her that my family, especially my husband — who was working late — would enjoy it when he came home.
I could see her children in the car. I waved. They waved back.
I went inside and opened the card. It read: “Honesty is hard to find these days. I really appreciate your kindness. Thank you!”
Sometimes, doing a good deed can make your day. My 17-year-old son and I could not wait to break into the delicious arrangement of fresh fruit. Why wait until my husband gets home? We’ll save some for him!
I have a feeling that this story is to be continued. I got her address and plan to write her a thank you card. No one has ever given me an edible bouquet. Delicious! I can’t wait to thank her. With everything bad that seems to be happening in the world these days, it’s good to know that there are people like her in my neighborhood.