Monthly Archives: May 2006

A random act of kindness

Last night, around 9 or 10pm, I went to the grocery store. As with other grocery store trips, I had my Palm PDA with me, ready to remind me what sorts of food and sundries I was needing at the time. Unfortunately for my wallet, I ended up with close to $60 in groceries, despite a careful effort to keep to things on sale. My shopping cart was reasonably burdened, yet not full, and it had the two-cupholders plus a handy tray to place a small purse, a stack of coupons, or various toys for a hypothetical child. I placed my PDA there, in that most convenient of places. It was a rather uneventful shopping trip, whose highlight was probably asking the friendly brown haired female bagger at the checkout if her eyes were naturally that color. I was referring to her nicely aquamarine ( a shade of blue) eyes, of course, and she replied that she got that question a lot, but no, her genes were not *that* good, and if I stopped by next month, they might be grey.

Again, a rather uneventful trip. I rolled the cart out to my car, loaded my trunk and wheeled the cart back to the store front (as any dutiful citizen would, when no cart corral was closer). Little did I know that the next day, today, I would be doing yet more cart wheeling and rolling, but with computing goods and with elevators. But, I digress.

It wasn’t until this morning when I looked at my backpack and, finding an open zipper and no PDA within, I wondered where my PDA was. I think it took about sixty seconds for my morning fatigue to be erased and converted to abject horror and acute anxiety. I searched throughout my apartment, but didn’t find it, which wasn’t surprising since I had no recollection of bringing it in from the car. I went to search the car, but returned empty handed, making sense since I had no recollection of taking it from the cart and placing it in the car. And as Sherlock Holmes would say, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” In my case, the truth was unfortunately that I had left my PDA in the shopping cart at the front of the store for the next lucky customer to utilize.

Now, at this point, I was pretty pessimistic about the whole thing. My nice, shiny PDA was surely more attractive than the average find of leftover coupons normally found in used shopping carts. Sure, it had limited memory and functionality compared to those whizzy PocketPCs, but I for one found the applications more usable, despite having a mostly useless Bluetooth implementation, and a built-in 1-megapixel camera whose noisy sensor was only usably good for 640×480. Anyway, no one would’ve been the wiser (except an absent-minded me), so I honestly started thinking about what I could do about it, knowing that my PDA carried a lot of my most personal information, as all PDAs are designed to handle.

I resolved to go about my day and check the grocery store in the evening. It would’ve been better if I had remembered sooner, but quite honestly, if it’s there the next morning, it will still be there in the evening. So I went about my day, mostly with my head hung low, and if I were in an anime episode, my eyeballs would be blank white sockets and there would be a blue/black aura about me, perhaps with bobbing flames dancing mockingly around.

So, my day came and went, with some productivity here and there, taking delivery of more computing power than I really need (another story), and at the end of the day, I went back to the grocery. I went straight to the customer service area and asked the nice young woman there if anyone had turned in a PDA left in a shopping cart last night. She rooted through a particular cabinet for a moment, and then asked her manager, requesting that I wait for just a little longer. I, already accepting defeat, waited without further worry. Her manager came over and checked a “back room”, and a moment later, I had my PDA in my hand. This was a surprise, and a most pleasant of surprises. I’m sure that winning the lottery is also a pleasant surprise, but hey, dodging a bullet like this is also pretty nice indeed. My heart and my profuse gratitude go toward the kind soul(s) who turned it in to the store authorities. In fact, if you have ever turned in items that have appeared lost, and are wondering whether it was worth your trouble, I assure you, it was. The person who turned in my PDA has my lasting gratitude, and I’m sure that other item-losers (perhaps an unfortunately-worded term) are equally relieved and forever grateful to be reunited with their belongings. There’s no reason for random strangers to cover for mistakes by people like me… no reason but the goodness of the heart.

Experiences like this remind me that there really is goodness in the world. I should have faith in humanity. Good people do exist. News and media often remind us of the problems and badness of reality– hopefully, we should want to fix things rather than despair, lose hope, or find fascination in the lurid– but look here. There is good in the world, and here is an example. Maybe it will do good to celebrate goodness rather than to decry badness.

Anyway, thanks for reading this rather long, and perhaps self-indulgent blog entry. Have a nice day. 🙂