Parkland Press

Monday, December 17, 2018

Angels abound this season, even in public restrooms

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 by BONNIE LEE STRUNK Special to The Press in Opinion

’Tis the season for warnings.

We can’t open our bank statements or bills or newspapers and magazines without seeing bold-print messages about being scammed or robbed while we are out and about shopping and celebrating.

We are told to guard our credit cards. Hang on to wallets and purses. Beware of street-corner mailboxes. Watch out for the gas pump, too.

I concede some “bad guys” are out to get us as we are caught up in the hustle and bustle of festivities, but I also think the good guys outnumber the bad.

And not just because Santa is watching.

Recent personal experiences confirm my belief.

Not long ago I got an early-morning phone call from an unfamiliar woman I can describe only as an angel here on earth.

Sylvia was her name, and she told me exactly what I needed to hear at that troubled moment.

The day before she called, my absent-minded husband had left his canvas fanny bag in a public men’s room.

We didn’t realize the loss until that evening, when most of the places we had been that day were closed.

In his bag were money, driver’s license, cell-phone and keys to our gates, house, garage and cars.

I spent a sleepless night plotting how to get all those locks changed and wondering whether someone would break in. I propped a chair against the kitchen door.

Sylvia, a cleaning lady in office and medical buildings, found my husband’s bag during her overnight work. Being honest, she did the right thing without hesitation.

We were fortunate it was she, and not someone less scrupulous, who found the bag. Nothing was missing, and we were beyond elated, to say the least.

Our angel happened to be at the right place at the right time.

A woman I know left her purse in a shopping cart one night when she unloaded groceries into her car in the parking lot.

When she was almost home she realized her handbag was missing. With heart pounding, she headed back to the store.

Sure enough, the right person, her angel, had found the purse and took it into the store and turned it over to customer service employees. Everything, including the money, was intact.

Most of us like to think we, too, would do right when our honesty is tested. I hope many of us actually would.

I recall a proverb I once read that said a person’s character is defined not by what he does while others are watching, but by what he does when he is alone.

Certainly Sylvia was alone in the night when she found my husband’s bag. She could have done anything with it because no one was looking.

But this is a woman of character. She behaves no differently when she is alone than she does when eyes are upon her.

Despite knowing right from wrong, some people, unlike Sylvia, admit they don’t always take the high road.

Some say they would keep something that was not theirs.

If a clerk made a mistake and gave too much change, for example, they say they would keep it and not say a word.

I guess these folks give little thought to how their dishonesty affects average people like themselves. If they empathized, they would be more inclined to do right when temptation beckons.

The clerk who mistakenly gave too much change usually has to make up the difference when her cash drawer does not balance.

The person who loses a bank envelope or wallet full of cash on payday may not be able to buy food or medications that month.

Any of us easily could be the victim of someone’s dishonesty. Many of us already have been.

That’s a thought worth considering whenever temptation tries to lead us astray, not just at Christmas when Santa is checking who’s naughty and nice, but every day of the year.