Amicable Allegory #7: Lost, found, returned

My last post, “500 bucks richer for a poor person is related to this post, except that this post is a more positive version of the subject!  (On a side note, thanks to Autumn for her comment requesting more positive entries. Though it is my aim to promote positivity, sometimes I go about addressing positivity by deliberating on how I can handle less positive interactions. Thank you Autumn for the reminder that all things are good–in balance. So, on with the positive!)

Yesterday, I was picking up some items at the mall conversing (as always) with the sales ladies about random things.  One of the women told me of a day when she found a wallet in a parking lot with a moderate amount of money in it. She Facebooked the guy and arranged to return it to him, she told me.  I was so impressed–and encouraged, especially after the $500 woman last week! I asked the sales lady then if the man had given her a reward or anything.  She said “No, but he was a student and I bet he didn’t have much to spare. — But the next week I was on campus and I found a 100 dollar bill on the ground!  I thought to myself–this is what good deeds get you!”  I have to say, I totally agree! Wouldn’t it be great if that happened to all of us! 🙂

Have you ever been so focused on what you’re going to do next that you don’t pay attention to what you’re doing at that moment?  My friend had gone grocery shopping one afternoon this summer and returned all the way home with her thoughts on the tasks awaiting her there when she realized she had left her purse in the cart in the parking lot!  In a panic she flew back to the supermarket, all-the-while thinking of what she had in her purse that could be stolen or misused.  She quickly walked to the customer service desk, anxiety growing in her mind. She budged in line (I imagine this was a pretty justifiable budge!) to ask after her purse and there it was, everything in tact!  She asked who had left it, but the worker said the woman had not left her information.  Thrilled, relieved, and grateful, my friend walked slowly back to her car wondering how she would ever thank the person for their kind deed.  That evening, she placed an ad in the local paper, saying simply, “To the kind woman who found my purse and returned it, thank you!” What I love about this story is that not only did someone do the right, kind thing, but my friend went out of her way to thank them for it, even when she did not know who it was!  Kind deeds become a little more special with a hardy “thank you!”

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

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500 bucks richer for a poor person

At work the other day, I was conversing with a lady about her first bus-riding experience, of which she shared her very unusual experience.  Only she and a blind man were riding the bus at the time when she noticed a wallet under a seat close by. She picked it up, inspected it, and found $500 inside. After an astonished pause, I asked, “Did they have an address in there to mail it to?” She replied, “Well, I called all the numbers in the wallet but none of them were in service, so I mailed it back to the person.” She then cackled and said, “But I kept the 500 bucks! I mean, he should be grateful just to get his wallet back.”

She kept the money. She. Kept. The. Money. ICK! She was so proud of herself for her profit from someone else’s misfortune. How do you respond to that?  Being at work I couldn’t react with the disgust and revulsion I felt, so I neutrally stated how happy he would be to have his wallet back, since it can be such a pain to replace personal documents. But inside I just could not believe that this woman would be so proud of taking some poor guy’s $500 that she would share it enthusiastically with a complete stranger.  I mean, she was delighted with herself. She thought she was the luckiest, smartest gal in the land. She had no idea what I was really thinking. What most anyone would be thinking. It was despicable. It was cold and pathetic.

It is one thing to find a dollar on the street with no evident owner and keep it. It is a whole other ordeal to know who the owner is and to rip him off anyways.  This kind of story, to me, is a reminder of how truly sad someone can be when they are poor in morals, decency, and in spirit.  I almost pity the woman for thinking that stealing $500 is something to brag about. Pity her for a bad upbringing, or for giving in to bad influences.  But, then, how can I pity someone so selfish and so heartless? Even when I’m trying to be nice to people, there is no room for that. At that point, it was hard to be civil. What disappoints me is how nice I thought she was at first, but then upon knowing this tale, I realized that she is the type of person I would never want to befriend….  When I think on the experience, I can only resolve to never do anything of that sort, and to raise my family with decency so they know to do the right thing in those situations. I can’t control that woman, but I can control my behavior. And if I ever lose my wallet, I hope to God she doesn’t find it!

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice.(somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

Practice what you ticket

I like to drive responsibly. Once upon a time, one of my jobs entailed a lot of driving in which safety was a huge priority. So, I don’t run red lights, I signal when I turn, I drive the speed limit, and I don’t pass in No Passing zones. Seems like the civil thing to do.

But what about police officers and state troopers? Nothing bothers me more than seeing police cars run red lights, speed, turn in a no-turn-on-red intersection, or forget their turn signals. It happens all the time, and every time the police car emergency lights are turned off!  What’s the deal? Aren’t police supposed to be models of proper law-abiding behavior? Aren’t they supposed to follow the very laws that they readily ticket us for? I think some lessons in manners and decency is in order.

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

Integrity counts, even at $6.50/hour

I never understood how people could be okay with doing an average or below-average job the majority of the time. I understand that there are days where you just can’t do your best, and that there are circumstances where it isn’t possible. But there are people who just don’t do their best, ever. I’m sure there are reasons for it from time to time that any therapist could do wonders with. But there are also those who just don’t care.

I have heard people say, “If they want me to do a good job, they should pay me more.” And sure, many people should be paid much more than they are.  But what about personal integrity and self-worth? Don’t people want to show themselves that they can do their best? Don’t people know that their best is worth giving, if only because their best is something that no one else can do in the same way?

I do my best because at the end of the day, I want to feel good about what I did. Imagine how lousy it would feel to end an 8-12 hour day knowing that you didn’t do your best because someone wasn’t appreciative enough, or you don’t get paid enough.  Aren’t we enough? Isn’t it enough of a reward to know that what I do matters? That what I do may not seem like a big deal, and I might not get paid a lot, but it makes a difference? My job matters: whether it’s busing tables or busing people around.  I think about those women who clean the bathrooms in Grand Central Station. Yuck, what a job. I mean, those places get so gross and messy. But these women do it every day and I have so much respect for them. That is not an easy task. Imagine how much worse that job would be if they didn’t think it made a difference in peoples’ daily commutes.

I think when it comes to doing our best, we just have to believe that it does make a difference. Perhaps the evidence of a reward or appreciation  isn’t immediate, or even existent. Perhaps our boss is an ungrateful fool. But we can choose to base our integrity in our work on their opinions, or we can base it on the excellence of our actions.

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.