There are good people everywhere


So there I was in Ames, a few weeks back on one of those blistering hot, sunny days. I was running errands and had to stop at just two stores before I had an appointment downtown. Then, I figured, I could just go home and get out of all the concrete and cars and heat.

As I exited my car the last time I noticed that the chain for my necklace was hanging askew, unhooked, around my neck. Worse yet, there was no charm on it. Obviously, the necklace chain had unclasped, and I’d lost the charm hanging from it. I searched inside the car, but still no charm.

This necklace meant a lot to me. A dear friend gave it to me shortly after my mother died two years ago, so of course I felt bad. As I got into my hot car to head home after my appointment, I debated going back to the stores to see if someone found my charm. I really didn’t want to head that direction again, through traffic and stoplights. Besides, I knew it was a long shot that someone had found my charm and turned it in at the store.

But I had to try to retrieve my necklace before leaving town. I searched the parking lots and entrances at both stores but found nothing. The clerk at the first store I checked said no one had turned in anything. The best she could do was say she ‘d call if the charm was turned in.

Discouraged, I drove the few blocks to the second store and repeated my request to the clerk there. “What does your necklace look like?” she asked. As I told her, she reached into a drawer and pulled out something round and shiny as she asked, “Is this it?”

There it was, my circle of life necklace! Some kind soul had picked it up and brought it to the front desk, where it was returned to me, undamaged. Driving back to check the stores was worthwhile, and I was thankful for the thoughtful stranger who took a few moments to rescue my necklace. He/she didn’t have to do that.

There are good people everywhere. Yet sometimes it’s hard to remember–especially in these times of such unrest, uncertainty and hatred in our country.

I think about the lady, a stranger, who stopped and pulled over in her car beside mine on a cold, dark morning just after I hit a deer a few years back. I assured her that I was okay, just waiting for help to come. “Okay, let me give you a hug,” she said. And she did before she drove off into the dark.

She didn’t have to do that, either.

It was a little act, really, not unlike turning in a charm found in the parking lot. But that gesture, too, reminded me again that there really are plenty of good people everywhere.