While walking the dog Thanksgiving evening about 8pm I found a cell phone on the street.
I tried to not find the phone. I saw it and walked right past it. I have a fear of commitment and I knew that picking up that phone entailed a commitment.
Yet if I lost my phone I would want someone to let me know before it got run over by a vehicle or used in a criminal manner. Losing a phone is a monumental inconvenience and can be costly. My wife lost her phone and it cost a sizeable amount to replace it because our wireless company doesn’t give you a cut rate on a phone other than at the initial signing of the several-year commitment. Bastards.
I wanted to return the phone to the person who lost it. I want to do the right thing. I believe people are essential kind and good. So I picked up the phone. It’s not a Blackberry or iPhone but it’s a decent metallic pink Samsung phone. It’s a female’s phone. There’s a chivalry issue.
But I’m Eric and I don’t talk to strangers. Should I take it to work the next day? It’s safer to have someone pick it up at the Po-Po than my house. What if this is some kind of crazy bait-phone. Okay, doubtful. So I need to call them that night.
Being a devoted husband I exercise the only acceptable option: I say “Hey honey, would you like to figure out who this belongs to?”
Kelli calls the speed dial labeled “home” and leaves a message to call us.
Crap. That means someone is going to calls us. Luckily we have contingency plans for this sort of thing in place. Kelli talks on the phone and I’ll actually meet face to face with the folks. It’s a win-win.
But jeez, who knows when they are going to call. I just got home from a 12 hour shift. A 12 hour shift on Thanksgiving. Think: carb-coma. I just want to go to bed. Whaaaaaaa.
Yet very soon a grateful woman called Kelli and said it was her phone and she would be back en route from nearby to pick it up. Excellent. This will end soon.
As I’m waiting for the owner to arrive I have another series of thoughts.
Wow, I wonder if they’ll reward me with money. That would be sweet. But I couldn’t accept money, it being an act of chivalry and good will and all on Thanksgiving. So I’ll politely decline the money, protesting that it was just the right thing to do and being extremely magnanimous.
There’s no magnanimity like calculated magnanimity.
By this point the dog wanted to go out again so I bundled up to take her. Just as I opened the door to walk out, the phone owner’s car pulled up. Bonus! I stowed the dog back inside and walked onto the porch with the phone.
A man walked up to me as his wife waited in the car. I held the phone out to him. I could see gratitude in his eyes.
Then he handed me a plastic grocery bag and said “These are egg rolls. My wife is Korean.”
I don’t want stranger-danger food but, unlike money, I can’t refuse it. That would be rude of me. Imagine that, me being rude while trying to do the right thing. I can’t believe this.
Luckily he didn’t want to have a conversation any more than I wanted one. He grabbed the phone, handed me the egg rolls, and jumped back into the car. His wife rolls down her window and as they started to leave she yelled a “thank you!”
I waved and said “no problem, happy Thanksgiving!”
Then I walked into the house and dumped the eggrolls into the trash before taking my dog out for the walk.
We were thankful not to discover lost property on that trip.