Lost and Found in Tucson
I lost my wallet in Tucson, but I found so much more.
Last week I shared a story about my brother’s wallet, but also while we were visiting in Tucson, I lost my wallet for the first time in my life. I had my driver’s license in a separate place and wouldn’t struggle to get on the plane home the next day, but I was upset because I had a sweet note in the wallet from my best friend’s dad claiming me as his adopted daughter. Forget the cash inside. Forget the credit cards I’d need to cancel. I did not want to lose that priceless note.
Fortunately for me, the kind woman at the San Xavier Mission Arts & Craft store had put it aside for me hours before. I raced back to the mission. The woman was helping a couple with their purchase, but she gave me a huge smile when I walked in.
She said, “I thought you’d be right back.”
I began to babble incoherently, gushing with gratitude while she finished with her customers. If not for the glass counter display between us (and coronavirus guidelines), I would have hugged her multiple times.
She handed me my wallet and said, “I didn’t look inside or touch anything.”
I wouldn’t have cared if she did, but I was sad that she felt the need to say so and as if her honesty and kindness demanded explanation due to my carelessness.
I pulled out a fifty-dollar bill and slid it toward her.
She immediately raised her palms. “No, I couldn’t.”
We exchanged Please, and No, I couldn’t several times.
I was desperate to exchange her kindness, to express my thanks for her thoughtfulness during these often unfriendly times. “Please,” I said. “Thank you for being you.”
She smiled and nodded.
I am glad I lost my wallet. I am grateful we could reconnect, not over a purchase, but as caring individuals.
To my surprise, the couple ahead of me was waiting outside the store for me. Smiles on their faces, they were touched by the woman’s thoughtfulness and how she recognized me despite having hundreds of visitors that day. Over the next fifteen minutes, the man proceeded to tell me his “lost and found” story, where he also gave someone money for returning his belongings. “Not to reward him, but to reciprocate and connect,” he said.
I knew exactly what he meant.
Sometimes losing things helps us find what we’ve really been missing.
What’s your lost and found story?
Speaking of stories, here is my first review for the At Your Leisure Online Book Club: Coming Home to Greenleigh by Maya Rushing Walker.
Thanks for being you!