It’s easy to lose your way in the world, isn’t it?
Time and again – especially when I’m tired or dejected – I wonder how it is we all keep moving forward.
All I really need to do, though, is read Mitch Smith’s story in The Chicago Tribune, about an elderly couple who lost their way in Chicago, only to find their way with some generous help from the complete strangers who put them in a cab and paid their fare.
Sappy? Sure. Still, I think it’s important to remember that each of us loses our way at various times in life, and that one of the easiest ways to find our way back is by reaching out to others.
I was the recipient of a Good Samaritan’s assistance myself last week, after a trip to Westfield Old Orchard Mall.
Thirty minutes after I got home, the dog started barking, letting me know there was someone at the door. I opened it to find a man dressed in a suit, his car running at the curb. In his hands, he was holding my wallet.
“Were you missing this?” he asked.
I was stunned. He could tell.
“Did you know this was missing?” he repeated, handing the wallet over. I tried to place him—or at least figure out how he’d gotten my wallet. As he began walking toward his car, he explained.
“You backed over it in the parking lot. I tried to chase you down, but you must have been in a hurry, and I couldn’t catch you at the light.”
I held the wallet in my hands, slowly realizing I must have dropped it just outside my car when I pulled out from my spot near Nordstrom. Waiting to pull in, he had seen it all.
“Thank you,” I stammered.
“I figured you’d probably need it,” he said, adding, “I didn’t take anything!”
“Oh, of course not!" I said, embarrassed he'd even suggest I would think that. "Let me…” I began.
But before I could say another word, he raised his hand. “I’m just glad I found you.” Then he continued toward his car.
“Can I at least ask your name?” I said.
Now it was his turn to look embarrassed.
“Please?” I asked. I wanted to thank him properly, but I had no cash, no fresh-squeezed lemonade, not even a Diet Coke to offer.
“It’s Ben Perks,” he said.
“Do you live nearby?” I asked.
“Actually, Northfield,” he said, waving.
Northfield? He left Old Orchard to drive a wallet to Evanston during rush hour?
“You drove this here and you live in Northfield?” I exclaimed.
He simply raised his empty hands and continued to smile.
And so, to Ben Perks of Northfield—and to all the anonymous Good Samaritans who do good deeds every day—you are truly appreciated.