Just when you think the world can’t surprise you, it does. Today it surprised me in a way so simple and so moving it brought tears to my eyes.
Over the weekend I was running some errands with the kids. Nothing special. But I’d replay them later, step by step, where I drove, where I parked, when and where I got out and where I just sent the kids out. It would be important when trying to figure out where I left my wallet, which vanished into thin air.
I retraced my steps. I called the stores I’d gone to. I turned my car and house upside down, sure I’d just dropped it somewhere nearby.
It would have involved just the minor annoyance of canceling credit cards and getting a new license but for two facts. One, the little wallet itself, a cheapy tourist-trap purchase, had some sentimental significance. I bought it in L.A. from an open-air cart at Hollywood and Highland, right near the old Grauman’s Chinese Theater during the week my book came out. Every time I held it, it reminded me of the exhilaration of that week, driving out to meet my film agent, roaming the streets of L.A., posing for selfies on the beach in Malibu, feeling like I’d arrived. And, two, since I have to fly in a few days, it would mean a hurried trip to the DMV, akin to getting a root canal on the corner of West Beelzebub Street in Hell. No trip to West Beelzebub, no getting on the plane.
It made me cranky all week.
Tonight I had back to back meetings. In a hurry, with only five minutes to go until the next one, I ran down when my daughter called out my name. I’d gotten a big envelope – no sender’s name, no postage. Just a Post Office envelope with my last name, my address and a bit of a bump in the middle.
My wallet. Untouched.
As I turned it around and around, I couldn’t find the words to say how I felt. My eyes filled up with tears (because, yes, I’m a sappy, sentimental crier). Right now someone is walking around on Earth, someone whose name I’ll never know, who took the extra few minutes to go put my wallet in an envelope and, without removing a single thing from it, got it back to me. No West Beelzebub. No sinking feeling knowing my data is out there with a stranger. Instead, a warm reaffirmation that there’s just enough good in the world to keep you hoping.
Thank you, dear stranger.