I really enjoy train travel. As much as I like driving for hours at a time, I also enjoy being a train passenger lost in a world camouflaged by my headphones. A world where I laugh quietly at Robin Williams’ jokes or bob my head to a LeCrae song. I thought this weekend’s trip to watch my son’s football game would be typical of my previous travels. Until I arrived at the train platform and realized it was a holiday weekend in the country of my residence. EVERYONE was traveling; the train was crowded and some of the travelers had already had a few hours head start on drinking. As I approached my stop, I tried to squeeze out of my seat and head to the door without causing a commotion.
I made it out before the train’s doors were shut closed and headed for my connecting platform then it hit me: I didn’t have my cellphone. Ugh!
It must have fallen out of my pocket in my attempts to squeeze out of the compartment. Double-ugh!!
I had just printed 250 business cards with that phone number listed. Triple ugh!!!
That was the number mum routinely sends me text messages on. #%<**##!!!!
I stood there helplessly for about a minute, then gathered my thoughts and went into problem-solving mode. I reached for my other phone (yes, I have two phones–don’t judge) and called my missing phone.
“Hello?” The male voice on the other questioned. I asked if he spoke English and told him I had dropped my phone on the train. He said he did, told me to hold, and then hung up. aargh!!
I took a deep breath, waited 30 seconds and called again. This time a female voice answered. Her English was better and I could feel my stress level dropping as we made arrangements for me to get the phone back on my return journey.
I have to confess I had believed the worst would happen. I didn’t anticipate a stranger would go out of their way to return a high end smartphone. I rushed to buy a gift to give this kind stranger when we met. Last night, during the exchange, I gave her a bottle of wine, shook her boyfriend’s hand as he said: “welcome to our country!”
I smiled. It was indeed an excellent way to leave a positive impression on a visitor.
I’m a big fan of “paying it forward” and a believer in Hebrews 13:2:
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
Not calling myself an angel, far from it. Just reinforcing the power of kindness when opportunities present themselves. Just be kind…period. In fact, make it a point to aggressively seek ways to be kind to strangers. Try doing it without looking for anything in return. Sometimes we feel we deserve a pat on the back. Don’t. It’s like wondering why you didn’t get nominated for the “volunteer of the year” award. Really?
Challenge for the week: Find ways to be a secret giver.