Recently, I was taking a walk through a residential neighborhood, and I spotted an envelope with a stamp on it in the middle of the street. I picked up an empty envelope for a wedding invitation response.
Fifteen feet away, another cluster of papers were on the side of the road. I picked up a wedding invitation tied with a ribbon which included a completed RSVP card to say yes to attending the wedding. I pulled out my phone and googled the name, town, and street I was walking on. In this instance, the availability of personal information via on-line search was a positive thing. Finding the address, I walked to the house and put the invitation package into the mailbox.
Later that same day, I received a check in the mail. Since it was a beautiful day, I decided to walk to the bank and deposit it, along with some other business I had at the bank. I completed the deposit slip and shoved the paperwork into my back pocket and started on my walk.
A block and a half away, I felt something at my hip, and found that my papers were coming out of my pocket. Most of them were still there, but not the check. I retraced my steps, keeping my eyes on the ground and trying to account for the direction of the wind. After a couple of circuits, I gave up and returned home, discouraged and annoyed at myself.
In the early evening, I came inside from grilling on the back deck and heard a knock at the front door. Standing there was a young woman who, along with her mother, had found my check in her bushes, and found us on the Internet, based on the last name on the check and our town.
This is the fastest I’ve ever seen pay it forward work. It is a reminder that people are mostly good, and will go out of their way to help each other out. And it is an example of how technology can help create connections between people within a community, even if neighbors don’t know each other’s names.
P.S. I have to alternate my praising of technology with an occasional curse. I dictated this blog post in an email to myself while I was walking, but most of it was lost and had to be retyped. And as is usually the case when this happens, I feel like my original words were much better than what I have in the second attempt.