While walking through the streets of New York City this weekend my cousin and I stumbled upon an electric blue fo-gator skin wallet sitting on the ground. I picked it up and jokingly said ”Guess some 19 year old girl is paying for our drinks tonight!”. It was after opening up the wallet though that I got serious and began looking for information about the owner with hopes of returning it. And lucky enough for the owner, she had left a business card tucked inside with her cell phone number. After leaving a message I received a very relieved phone call from a woman named Tracey who had indeed lost her wallet.
During our conversation one of the first things she asked me was what I wanted. I actually became very confused and had to ask her to clarify that statement. Strangely enough she had the assumption that I would only return the wallet on condition of receiving a reward. When I told her that I just wanted to get the wallet back to her and wasn’t looking for a reward she was then very confused.
I find it really sad that we live in a day and age where the good samaritan is such an oddity that people don’t even recognize him. The thought that someone might find the wallet and actually return it to the her just because it’s the right thing to do never crossed Tracey’s mind! I understand that there are people in the world who wouldn’t have taken the same approach as myself, but am I really part of the minority now? Are there more people who would have kept the $160, credit cards, and wallet without making an attempt to contact the owner than those who would have tried to return it?
It seems to me as if the core values of society are just not what they used to be. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in progressive thinking and modernity, but when did being a good person become old fashioned and out of style? Are our values as a society so far in the toilet that common courtesy is something to be desired?
Regardless, I just got back from mailing the woman her wallet back (still containing all the money and cards that were originally in it). Do I feel like a better person? No, not particularly. But I will go to sleep at night knowing that I did the right thing. My only hope in this experience is Tracey will pay it forward and help someone else in the future the way I helped her. It only takes one act of random kindness to change the world after all!