The other day I posted about the season of giving and sharing. This morning, I read another story – it brought tears to my eyes as I thought of the generosity of this woman’s spirit, and knowing that it’s just one example of the love and kindness of many, many people in our world. Read on:
It was Dec. 9 and I was headed to downtown Halifax to do some Christmas shopping with $600 in cash that I had been putting away for this time of year.
My first stop was a clothing store on Spring Garden Road, to purchase a pair of pants I had had my eye on for the past year. The plan was to treat myself to these and get on with my Christmas shopping.
It was about 4 p.m. and the streets were busy. I parked on a side street not far from the store.
I went into the store and straight over to where the pants were located. I found my size and went to try them on. I set my keys down and noticed my wallet was not with me.
Frantically, I patted down my pockets and realized I must have dropped it somewhere. I quickly retraced my steps in the store and could not find it. I could feel myself panicking.
Under my breath, I mumbled that I lost something as I searched on the floor near another shopper. She heard me and immediately wanted to help: “OK, let’s retrace your steps. Where were you shopping in the store, and what cubbies did you look in?”
I told her there was $600 in the wallet. It was like we were on a mission, but after a long search, we found no sign of my wallet anywhere. I then retraced my steps back to my truck and back to the store. Again, no wallet.
When I returned to the store, the two of us continued to look in the same places and it was at that moment I knew I had to walk away. I introduced myself to the lady and said, “Thank you so much.” I was so appreciative of her help and concern.
I left the store. I was so disappointed but still thought there might a slight chance of finding it. After slowly retracing my steps a few more times to the truck and back, I decided it was time to leave.
As I was about to head home, my phone rang. It was a police officer. He told me he had found my wallet. And of course I asked the question about the contents. And of course the answer was no, there was no money found in the wallet. He told me to meet him in front of the store I was shopping in and we would have a quick chat about the incident.
The lady who had been helping me happened to be walking out, and I told her that the wallet was found but that there was no money in it. She waited with me until the police officer arrived and I said thanks again; at least we now knew what had happened.
I got home that evening and told my family what had happened. After feeling a range of emotions, I concluded that after all, it was only money; it could have been a lot worse. I also told everyone about the sweet lady who had helped me out. She was so kind and so genuinely wanted to help, and I honestly felt she was my best friend in that moment. I was very grateful she had been there.
So that was that — until I received a phone call from the store the very next day. They asked if I could come down. I asked why and they said a card had been dropped off there for me. Surprised, I asked “Was it from that lady who was helping me look for my wallet last night?” And they replied yes. I thought, wow, that’s so nice of her. I couldn’t make it there that day but the phone call alone put a smile on my face.
The next night after work, I drove downtown. After picking up the card I went back to my truck to open it. My eyes filled with tears. It contained $600 cash and this note:
Dear Anne Marie,
I wanted to write you to say that I have not stopped thinking about you since yesterday evening. Sometimes you meet someone and encounter a situation where you feel you just have to act. When you lost your wallet I felt simply heartbroken for you and where I am always so busy and focused I felt instantly that I needed to stop and help you. I went home and I told my husband and children about you and we all agreed that this was one of those moments in life where we wanted to do something. One day you will pay it forward to someone who needs your help, and that will keep the good going. Go and do your Christmas shopping and make it an extra special holiday.
I was speechless.
I really want to share this story with everyone. Her thoughtfulness brought so much happiness to me and to the people around me. I learned so much about how an act of kindness can affect you. The values and qualities this lady exemplified through her actions and her family’s are ones I wish to emulate. Going forward, every Christmas will be a reminder to me that the spirit of the season is alive and well. Some people do act with goodwill and kindness with no expectation of acknowledgment or reward other than leaving a footprint in the sand. Someday I will have the opportunity to pay it forward, and I look forward to that day.
Anne Marie MacDonald is a massage therapist who lives in Halifax.