May 9, 2016- Zara and Luanna, Berlin
I went for a walk the other night, and passed two girls standing beside a bench on the sidewalk. They asked me something in German. Since I’m often the one on the other side of the question, and since I don’t like the feeling of being ignored, I stopped. “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand what you were asking.”
“Did you lose your wallet?” they said.
Checking my pockets, “No, I don’t think so.”
“Oh, we found this wallet, and you look just like the guy in this picture.”
The ID picture was too far away to be certain, but I wasn’t flattered. I’m sure he was a nice guy, though.
“There’s money in here––credit cards––we wanted to stay where we found it because we figured he would come back. If he doesn’t come back tonight, first thing in the morning, we’re going to turn it in. There’s no phone number, and his name doesn’t show up on Facebook. We’re worried for him.”
I was impressed (not by the picture, of course). How many people would have taken the money and left the wallet. Or maxed out the credit cards on an Ebay impulse binge. Or bought a cotton candy machine and started a new business. These girls were as genuine as it gets. I told them about RGA and our idea of spreading generosity. “You’ve inspired me. And whether you succeed in returning the wallet or not, I just wanted you to know that your kindness will never fail to inspire everyone you meet. I only have one book with me, but I want you to have it.”
They thanked me. We shook hands, they told me their names were Zara and Luanna, and as I walked away, I could hear in the excitement of their voices, what sounded like the equivalent of, “See, it pays to be generous!”