About two weeks ago my car was broken into. I know what your first question is and, yes, I had a bag on the front seat. I know better, I promise, but I had told myself all the things I always tell myself to excuse the laziness of not wanting to move a heavy bag to the trunk. It was a nice neighborhood, I was only going to be a few minutes, it was dark, but not very late. All the times I tell myself those things and nothing gets stolen, they seem wise and pragmatic. Not this time.
My bag was stolen. It was a nice bag that I had spent a lot of time, though not so much money, stalking and then winning on ebay. I had two very expensive books in it. The funny little lunch bag that a friend had just given me was in there too. I was bummed and I drove home cursing my idiotic, laziness. I know better, I kept thinking.
When I got home, though, I had an email whose subject line read, “Your bag found”. The thief, it turned out, went through my bag, found nothing he (or she) wanted, and threw it under someone else’s car. That person found it and went through it until he found a way to contact me. Every single thing I lost that night is with me now.
In the days that followed, I found myself feeling good about the experience and at first I couldn’t figure out why. I still, after all, had to replace the window. Someone had still violated my personal property. The thing is, though the broken glass was shocking in the moment, it actually only confirmed what I already know about the world. I know better, I kept telling myself. I know people break into cars and steal whatever’s there. What I don’t know as well about the world is that people also will bother themselves to return a bag. I don’t know as well that people will help one another. So when someone helped me that night, it was a genuine surprise. In the end, I wound up feeling better about people than I had before.
This has nothing to do with hotels. It has to do with travel only because I use my car to travel from place to place. But I found myself, today, needing to remember about how people can be good, too, and I thought I’d share.