It is too easy for us to think only of ourselves. Last week, I had rented for the first time a Red Box movie (all our local video stores went bankrupt) at my grocery store. As I placed my cart in the cart-catcher in the parking lot, I noticed that a Red Box movie was sitting alone in another cart. Surprised I grabbed it and said to my husband, “Oh no, someone left their Red Box movie in their cart!” A woman walking by overheard and said, “What movie is it? You might get lucky here and get a free movie.” I was disgusted at what she was suggesting and replied after a moment, “No. I don’t think that is right, ” and she walked off. I couldn’t believe it. If that woman had found the disc, she would’ve kept it and the original renter would likely be charged the full value of the movie. Where is her sense of responsibility and charity? It’s one thing when you find a dollar on the street and keep it because you didn’t see someone drop it. It’s a whole other thing when you can alleviate the original owner of their loss. The woman at the store was thinking selfishly of how I might benefit, rather than of how that would affect the original renter. And interestingly enough, I think she expected me to respond positively to her suggestion, which makes me wonder what trends are establishing themselves in our communities. Now, a lot of people would argue, “If they were dumb enough to leave it in their cart, they deserve to get it stolen.” But those people sound to me like they are simply justifying bad behavior. We need to think of other people sometimes-and specifically in these situations. And more than that–if we can–we need to speak out against those who are operating on the selfish end of things. To finish my story: I took the movie in and told the customer service desk about it in case the owner called in about it. The movie was then safely returned.
On another bright note, awhile back someone close to me told me how she was so deeply thinking of what she needed to do when she got home that she left her purse in her cart in the cart-catcher at the grocery store. She drove the short few minutes to her home and went to grab her purse when it dawned on her what she had done. In a panic, she drove back to the store, her heart sinking. Her money! Her credit cards! Her spare set of keys, oh Lord. This could be very bad. She checked for her purse where she left it and it wasn’t there. With just a shred of hope she found her way quickly to the grocery store customer service desk. She said–embarrassed, “By any chance, did anyone bring a lost purse in here a few minutes ago? I left mine in the parking lot.” The woman behind the counter pulled out the purse. My friend checked inside and found not only her credit cards, but her cash as well! She asked the clerk, “Did they leave any contact information? I would like to thank them and give them a reward.” The clerk said no. My friend was baffled: not only did the person–her small town savior!–return the purse fully intact, but they didn’t even expect a reward! This was humanity at one of its moments! THIS was what being good was all about!