I stood at the bus stop on Shore Road one dark night last week with a fistful of lottery tickets and my eyes peeled for the X27.
I wouldn’t have much time to do this. When the express bus pulled in I had just a few seconds to hop on board, meet up with Mary Ellen, this wonderful lady who had called me earlier in the day, and make a most important exchange.
I was psyched, a little nervous, and quite grateful that this business was hopefully going to be settled in a few minutes.
It all started in the afternoon when I received a voice mail from a number I didn’t recognize.
“Hello, my name is Mary Ellen and I have your company ID card,” the message began. “It was wedged between the cushions of a seat on the X27.”
I was stunned. I hadn’t even noticed that my ID card was missing. I always keep it securely clipped to my belt; there’s no way it could fall off.
When I come home every night I put my phone, wallet, house keys and ID card all on in one place on the kitchen table so I can make a quick departure from my house the following morning. Clearly something had gone wrong the previous night.
I quickly called Mary back and she told me that she had tracked me down on Facebook. It was a nice bit of detective work in addition to being an act of supreme kindness.
“I didn’t want to turn it over to the bus company,” she said, “because you’d never see it again.”
Now that’s the truth with a vengeance. With all the stuff that gets hauled into the lost and found in one day, I doubt if a plastic card with my kisser on it would attract much notice.
Hey, You Never Know
I’m still amazed at Mary’s courtesy, persistence and kindness. She could’ve easily ignored my ID card or tossed it over her shoulder. Instead she made this extra effort to help out a stranger.
There really are good people in the world. It’s just that all too often their good deeds are overshadowed by the losers, the schmucks, and the hatemongers.
My horoscope had me prepared for good things. Rob Brezsny, the genius behind Free Will Astrology, said my role models in the coming weeks should be Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan, and, appropriately enough, Johnny Weissmuller, the Olympic swimming champion who went on to play Tarzan in several movies.
Brezsny explained that Burroughs had failed in his attempt as a pencil sharpener salesman and took up novel writing as a way to pay the bills. Weissmuller suffered from polio as a child and rebuilt his strength by swimming.
“It's a favorable time for you to turn defeat into victory,” Brezsny wrote.
Okay then, so here’s my chance.
Mary Ellen, who works in midtown, texted me when her bus was coming up Bay Ridge Avenue and I ran out to 72nd Street to meet her. A friend had suggested that I give her lottery tickets as a small token of my appreciation and I think that was a brilliant idea.
The bus slowed down, the doors opened up, and after one passenger got off, I climbed aboard, asked the driver to wait a second, and made the exchange with Mary Ellen.
I was back out on the street seconds later, my ID card safely in my hand. I felt really cool, like I had just gotten away with something vaguely illegal. Mary Ellen had the lottery tickets, but I was the big winner here, thanks to her.
I walked quickly back to my apartment, barely able to fight the urge to swing from the trees and howl up to the sky.