Dear PoP – It’s Time For Some Good News

Grant Circle, originally uploaded by jvonr.

From a reader:

Dear neighbors,

On Monday I posted to the Brookland list that I had lost a wallet in or near the Brookland / CUA Metro Station. I was fairly frantic at the time, having lost not only my ID, cash, and my credit cards, but proof of insurance and other critical pieces of my life – and worse, I was running from the Metro to get my son on the day my wife left the country on business.

I spent the next day canceling credit cards, getting a new driver’s license, and generally trying to reconstitute my life.

You can imagine my delight and surprise when the wallet arrived in today’s mail, completely intact – cards, money, ID, etc. Not a thing missing. There was a letter (unsigned) saying the person found it by the “Brooklyn Metro Station” and that I must have “been in a rush”. Truer words have rarely been written about the rush and my general
frame of mind that day.

There was no name, but an address, with the closing note, “God Bless.” Continues after the jump. 

I just wanted to share this, because this example of nameless kindness and thoughtfulness is not unheard-of. In fact, it may not even be rare! In the past several months, due to general levels of sleep deprivation and overcommitment between work, home, child and other responsibilities, I’ve now lost not only my wallet, but my cellphone – TWICE – at a Metro station (Brookland and Fort Totten). In every case, it’s been returned to me by another neighbor or Washington resident, including citizens going out of their way to mail the items or leave them for me with a Metro station attendant.

From this one can conclude that (1) I’ve gotten extremely careless and forgetful in parenthood, and (2) the vast preponderance of our fellow neighbors and citizens are remarkably thoughtful, kind, and considerate – moreso than we may give them credit.

While a great deal of email traffic on the Brookland listserv and other neighborhood forums revolves around concerns about crime, town/ gown disputes with Catholic University students, and conflicting ideals about urban development, I’d like to take a moment to thank the nameless resident who went out of his or her their way to help a stranger, with no apparent expectation of reward. I am sure this person is a credit to his or her neighborhood and to Washington DC in

Michael on Perry

15 Comment

  • Thank YOU Michael on Perry, for sharing your good samaritan story with us. We’re inundated with bad news every day, and as I came into work today shaking my head at the Ryan Moats story, your blurb helped remind me that yes, there are good people out there.

  • DC is full of nice people!* Yesterday I also lost my wallet at the Navy/Archives Metro Station. It must have fallen out of my pocket at some point. Anyways, I didnt realize this had happened for about 20 minutes, at which time I ran back to the Metro Station PRAYING. To my utter delight, someone had turned it into the Station Manager and he promptly gave it back to me…not a thing was missing! Woo-hoo!

    * Sentence does not apply to rock throwers, gang-bangers, graffiti sprayers, surly & uncontrolled youth, and the like.

  • A few years ago, I was wading through the DCRA morass trying to put a retaining wall in front of my house. This involved several trips back and forth to the administrative building on North Capitol, in high summer. I was usually overheated, frustrated, and running late on these excursions, since they had to be done during my normal workday. One day, I left my inch-thick-folder of documents– including the plans drawn by my contractor, all the forms, receipts, etc– on the metro. I didn’t even realize it was missing til I got a call from a man who did not give his name, asking me if I’d lost a blue folder. “Looks like some DCRA permitting stuff… I bet you don’t want to have to re-do all that.” He verified my address (which was on the docs) wished me a nice day, and that was that. The next day, my folder arrived in the mail, with the return address on the envelope blacked out, so that I couldn’t even send a thank-you note.

    Now, there was no money or possibility of financial gain here, so it’s not quite the same as someone returning your wallet. But the man still took time out of his day to pick up my folder, investigate, and get it back to me. His 10 minutes saved me 10 hours, and I haven’t forgotten it even a couple years later.

    Oh, and it was clear from talking to my good samaritan on the phone that he was African American. So the genetic determinists from the rock-throwing thread can put that in their racists pipes and smoke it.

  • DC is full of nice people indeed.

  • BTW, that is a nice shot of Grant Circle.

  • I was walking home from work a few weeks ago and a group of kind of tough looking teens were trailing behind me. One of them called out to me and caught me a little off guard. I turned around and he said “this fell out of your bag.” He handed me a small bundle of papers. Nothing of terrible importance, but it was a nice gesture and I thanked him.

    When I read about incidents of rock throwing and the often justifiably indignant reactions, I also try to keep some perspective and avoid making unfair blanket generalizations, whether it’s about kids in DC or obvious examples of our good samaritans.

  • In European guide books, DC is always noted as being one of the friendliest big cities in America. I’ve noticed the same in peoples travel blogs. The Northeasten cities get the lowest marks, and Midwest gets the highest.

  • Off topic, but I noticed that the person who returned the wallet spelled Brookland as Brooklyn – one of my pet-peeves is that pronunciation! It’s Brook-land, not Brook-lin. This ain’t New York, folks!

  • i was running across the street from my office to the post office near union station to mail a package to a friend in iraq and my grad school apps and somehow managed to drop my wallet in the literally 100 foot walk. a nice lady from homeland security picked up and called my office (i had my business card in my wallet) and i went to pick it up from her.

  • in november, i lost my mobile phone on the 14th street bus. not only did a good samaritan turn it in to the bus driver, but the driver, in turn, phoned the last person i called to tell them i lost my phone and give her info on how to pick up my phone (at the bus depot in 14th street heights). i was blown away. when i picked it up, i tried to leave a reward for the driver, but the clerk told me ‘we don’t do that’. anyway, i was stunned and very, very pleased. there are good people in the world!

  • When we were moving into our house in Petworth a couple years ago, it was raining, cold, and the boiler in our house was not working. So I think we could be excused if our minds were scattered. After unloading a truck full of boxes, my wife ran off to the grocery store to get some essentials. I had to run off in a different direction (probably to load more boxes). Long story short, she came home to an empty house and had to lug the groceries inside by herself. At some point, carrying several bags and a 12 of Yuengling became too heavy, so she set the Yuengling down on our porch for a few minutes. Wouldn’t you know it, one of our fine neighbors crept up our front steps and ran off with my Yuengling!

    Oh, wait. This story doesn’t fit in this thread at all! 😉

    Carry on…

  • yes, i have also lost my phone… by the Freedom Plaza. and when i called it from another cellphone , 15 mins later,some nice lady answered saying she wasn’t the owner of this phone, and i was like “but I am!!!” she waited for me by the plaza and handed it over patiently. I was SO thankful!

  • I once walked out of my house and found someone’s wallet lying on my doorstep. I looked inside, found an email address, emailed the owner and much to his delight, was able to return it to him the following day. he was robbed while visiting from New york City, and said the best part about being robbed was that someone returned his wallet to him. a year later, my pocket was picked while walking home from Whole Foods. I canceled credit cards, lost about 4 bucks in cash and about 5 bucks on my metro card, and lamented the loss of my really cool wallet, made from baseball glove leather by Rawlings. lo and behold, i get a call the next day from a good samaritan who found it in the gutter while walking her dog. she met me ifo Ben’s Chili Bowl that night and returned the wallet, soggy but intact. Do unto others, I suppose.

  • About a year ago I got on the bus and inadvertently left my purse behind at the bus stop. Got to Takoma, realized what I had done and headed back to my stop on Kansas. Would you believe that my purse was still there, and there was a guy at the stop holding it until I came back? The world is full of good, kind people.

  • These stories are great — do unto others and pay it forward, definitely 🙂

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