Sunday, June 8, 2014

Maria von Trapp and the debit card

Today I'm counting my blessings. I've been reminded that Good Samaritans still exist. Sometimes I forget how many decent people are out there.

I'm a reporter for a daily newspaper in a busy metro area. My desk is so close to the police scanner that all day long I hear the horrible things that people do to each other. I've been hardened by the constant barrage of reports of criminal activity and the police sending the K-9 unit to bite the bad guys.

A little more than two years ago, before I became a newspaper reporter, I'd been described more than once as having the optimism of Pollyanna. The can-do attitude of Maria from the Sound of Music. Being as unworldly as Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of "Little House on the Prairie." As innocent as Mother Teresa. Some seasoned journalists might argue that I haven't changed much.

But sitting next to the police scanner and being exposed to the widespread ickiness of the world, I have changed. My edges are harder than they used to be. I'm more skeptical, less trusting.

This morning when I met my friend Patty for coffee, I couldn't find either my wallet or debit card in my purse. I'd gone hiking yesterday and had transferred my wallet into my backpack, so I was hopeful my wallet was still zipped securely in my backpack.

But when I returned home and checked my backpack for my wallet, it wasn't there. Then I conducted an archaeology dig in my purse by dumping its contents onto the couch. Aha! I found my wallet in the bottom of my messy purse. But my debit card wasn't there. I took everything out of my wallet to make sure I hadn't overlooked it. Still no debit card, but at least I'd found my wallet.

Last year when my debit card had gone missing, I'd stopped at the credit union to report it. As I climbed back into my car, there was my debit card, on the floor under the seat.

So I checked my car carefully, pulling the seats forward and back, looking underneath the seats, but I still didn't find my card. I wasn't ready to call "uncle" and report my debit card missing yet.

Retracing my debit card's steps, I checked online to see the last time I'd used it. My last transaction was Friday morning when I bought gas. Now it was Sunday afternoon, and there were no new charges on my card. That was a good sign. It appeared no one had stolen my debit card, but where was it? Had I seen it after I paid for my gas? No. I hadn't. It must have dropped out of my pocket while I was pumping gas. But with so many dishonest people in the world, what were the chances I'd find it?

I drove to the Arco station where I always fill up, walked in and asked the clerk if anyone had turned in a debit card Friday morning. Knowing my chances of finding it were slim, I held my breath.

He asked me my name. I gulped and told him.

"Can I see some ID please?"

"Yes!" I said, showing my driver's license.

He handed me my debit card! A Good Samaritan had found it in the parking lot and turned it in.

I thanked him profusely, clutched my debit card and smiled.

I wanted to dance, right there in the convenience store, next to the Ho-Hos and energy drinks. That's exactly the kind of thing to expect of Maria von Trapp.

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