The Kindness of Strangers: Part 2

I recently got back from a 3 week trip to Egypt where I finally got to meet my fiancee’s family. We arrived at the end of June, while it was still during the month of Ramadan, and although I am not Muslim I practiced fasting during this time since it was built into the daily schedule. I could always count on breaking the fast (Iftar) at 7 pm and having to hurry up to eat Suhoor before 3am, the meal you have before you start fasting again.

My fiancee’s dad splits his time living between Saudi Arabia and Egypt for work and so he was flying in a few days after we arrived. My fiancee’s brother and cousin went to the airport to go pick him up and since they were running late, we were all worried that they wouldn’t make it back for Suhoor in time. We started making up a few plates of food so that as soon as they walked in the door they could eat.

Shortly after swallowing their plates of food, my fiancee’s brother pulled a wallet out of his pocket. He explained how they had found it outside of a Starbucks in the airport and that they tried to find the owner on Facebook but too many names came up from their searches. We could tell from the student ID that was in the wallet that it belonged to a young girl who was high school age, who we assumed was a student on a school or mission trip. Before coming home, they had already sent a message to the high school on Facebook and emailed the school, stating they found a wallet. I imagined myself, only 17 or 18 years old, traveling across the world and I losing my wallet that had all my cash, insurance card, credit and debit card. I knew I needed to try and find her, so I began searching online too.

After some creative searches, I looked up her name and high school together and sure enough, only one name came up. I knew I had found her. I quickly sent the girl a friend request to get her attention (I wasn’t trying to alarm a 17 year old with a random friend request from someone 10 years her senior) and sent her a message. I explained that I believe we found her wallet and that if she was in Cairo for a bit longer we would be happy to meet up with her and return it to her. I could only imagine how anxious she felt, and I hoped that she would have WiFi soon to read my message.

The next afternoon, she responded and it was hers! I was so happy and informed everyone in the house that we found her. In the message she mentioned that she was already in South Africa on a school trip and that her mother would be getting a hold of us (myself and my fiancee) and that we could figure out a way to get her the wallet.

Sure enough, the next day we received a Facebook message and an email from the mother. We explained to her, who was living in New York, that my fiancee’s mother was flying into New York in two days. We mentioned that she was flying into La Guardia but flying out of JFK so they could meet up with her in the meantime to pick up the wallet. Needless to say, she immediately offered to pick her up from one airport and take her to the other. During that time they could meet each other, share stories, and make the exchange. They gave each other their numbers and flight information and made all the necessary arrangements.

Two days later, from New York, my fiancee’s mother texted us saying that she met the entire family and they were so kind. And they even brought her flowers! They had a great meeting and continually stated how grateful they were to meet such kind people in the world. It only took a little effort, and a lot of luck, and everything worked out well for everyone.

So, what’s the moral of the story? Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.

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