...something happens that totally changes your mind. This is a little long, but please bear with me.
Earlier this afternoon, there was a phone message on the answering machine from someone we didn't know. In very broken English, he asked for my wife Carrie (using her full name, including her middle name), said something we couldn't quite understand, and left his phone # asking her to call him back. Needless to say, Carrie & I thought it was a strange message (most likely a charity or sales call) and she didn't plan on calling him back.
Later in the day, Carrie was looking around frantically for her wallet (you can see where this is heading). We're heading off on vacation tomorrow and really couldn't leave without at least knowing where the damn thing was. After having looked all through the house, she was ready to start tearing things apart until she found it. While she was looking for it, the phone rings and I answer. It's an operator from BCAA asking for Carrie. Well, it turns out that the man who called earlier found her wallet on the road about a 5 minute drive from our house and was attempting to get in touch with her. Immediately after we hang up from BCAA, Carrie calls up the man (his name was Ali), thanks him for finding the wallet and calling, and makes arrangements to pick it up. With cash in hand as a small token of our appreciation, we get in the car for the short drive over.
When we arrive at the house, Ali is looking out of his window and gives us a friendly wave and a smile. I stay in the car while Carrie walks up to the door. They say their hello's, exchange hand shakes, then he hands her the wallet. Carrie opens it up, looks through it and finds everything in order. Yup, all the credit cards, id, and what cash she had were all there.
By this time, Ali's wife is standing at the door as well. Carrie then reaches into her pocket, pulls out the "reward money" and attempts to hand it to him. Both Ali and his wife jump back and refuse to take it. Carrie begs and pleads that it's the least she could do for them, but still they do not take the reward. Carrie then puts it on the table beside the door and Ali picks it up and throws it back at Carrie as if it were an insult to them. This is when I get out of the car and try to explain to them how grateful we are that they found the wallet and returned it to us. Still, they would not accept it. Carrie then turns to me and whispers that she'll take care of it another way.
From our brief encounter with Ali and his wife, we noticed that their basement suite wasn't furnished with much and we assume (from their difficulty in speaking English) that they might have recently immigrated to Canada. From what we saw, they probably could have used the cash, but they still decided not to take it. Maybe it was against their culture or religion, we don't know? So instead, after we get back from our holidays, we'll get them a gift basket or gift certificates to a restaurant...something to thank them for their effort & honesty.
After this little incident today, I was reminded me that:
1) There are still good people in this world. Even though it may seem like it, not everyone in this world is an asshole, or a thief, or is out to screw you some how.
2) Be appreciative of what you have. Most of us and our families have a lot. A roof over our heads, a nice car or bike, etc., but we're still not satisfied. We want something newer, better, faster, blah blah blah. Ali and his wife made me realize that some people don't have as much as you or I in terms of money or material things, but have more integrity and character wealth than I could possess in two lifetimes...