She had been very sick and hospitalized a few months ago. So it was with great excitement when she, her daughter, and two granddaughters landed in New York City in late June to fulfill her dream.
They were not disappointed. Broadway shows, shopping, a tour of the 9/11 memorial, a nice hotel, great restaurants, the incredible M & M store on Broadway, and Central Park.
But on the afternoon of July 3, a few days into their trip, Segrid could not find her wallet. You know how your mind works when you lose something like that. You retrace every place you have been.
They went back to the hotel and looked in every nook and cranny. They went to the front desk wondering if she had set it down in the lobby and maybe some good soul had found it and turned it in. They returned to the last store they had gone to.
She concluded that her wallet had been snatched out of her handbag. Her driver’s license, $500 cash, credit cards, debit card, cell phone – all of the stuff that no one can do without. Gone!
Her heart raced. Tears flowed. Panic attacked.
She called my son, and he immediately went to work, cancelling the credit cards, calling the cell phone company, cancelling the debit card, and calling the police. We all know the drill.
It was now late afternoon. Everything was closing up for the Fourth of July. In vain, he tried to get some sort of picture ID faxed to her hotel so she could board the plane, which left in the morning. My son called me again, and I asked him if he wanted me to ride to New York City with him to pick her up. And I prayed. Lord, I prayed. We all did.
Segrid and her family went on the airport. Amazingly, TSA didn’t immediately tell her to hitchhike back to Alabama. The officer asked her to tell him all the addresses where she had ever lived, and all of the cars she had ever owned.
If it had been me, I probably would have drawn a blank. But, she’s a school teacher and good at remembering names and stuff like that. She made 100 on that test. She called my son on her mom’s phone with the good news, and he called me. Can you say, “Miracle?”
But, that’s not the end of the story.
Last Saturday, the UPS man dropped off a package from New York City for Segrid. She breathlessly tore into it. Inside was her wallet. Nothing was missing. The Good Samaritan didn’t even take out shipping charges.
Oh, and the Good Samaritan’s occupation? Taxi driver. A New York taxi driver! She had left her purse in the cab, and the rider after her had turned it into the cabbie.
For every crook, thief, and cheat in the news, there has to be thousands who remind me of what Anne Frank wrote in her diary, “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”
THE REV. DAN WHITE IS THE PASTOR OF NORTH COLUMBIA CHURCH IN APPLING.