One of my favorite memories is – apropos of my age, I suppose – of something I watched on television.
Probably about 15 years ago I saw a Dateline episode where they did an experiment that involved leaving a wallet on the street and seeing what happened to it. The initial tests involved a wallet with a $20 bill, a completed contact card, and a note that said something along the lines of “Dear X, Here’s $20 to get you started with your new wallet, Love Grandma.” Later trials omitted the $20 to see if people were more or less likely to return the empty wallet.
One of the empty wallets came back with a twenty in it. The finder, a short-order cook who made about $7 an hour and who was a former convict, put his own $20 into make up for what had apparently been taken from a child. I was touched then and it still makes me a bit misty to think about it.
I’m similarly touched by an item in today’s WaPo letters to the editor from Kristina Murfin who lost her wallet on the metro and who was reunited with it the following day. Her story had a similar twist.
When I picked up my wallet, I asked who had turned it in. The officer didn’t think the man had given a legitimate name or address. Apparently, the gentleman had just been released from prison and was afraid of being accused of theft if anything had been missing.
I appreciate the goodness in both men, and my thanks to Ms Murfin for sharing a story that’s perfect for Christmas Eve. There’s a lot of good out there and some of it where we least expect it. Thanks for helping us remember that.
Happy Holidays, everyone.