The Kindness of Strangers (Also, there are still great Police Officers)

20180602_131245Believe it or not, kindness of strangers does still exist, and it humbles me whenever I experience it.

Alex and I drove an hour and a half with the kids last weekend to go to a HUGE farmer’s market in the capital square.  There aren’t many events during the spring and summer months which we enjoy more than good farmer’s markets.  The energy and diversity of the people shopping, the freshness and vibrance of the fruits and vegetables the people are selling, the variety of the crafts / artwork for sale, the musicians…It’s such a multicultural melting pot of hippie greatness and healthy food.  We will go to, often times, great lengths to patronize these markets.

So we packed the kids in the car, jammed what would otherwise be considered, to people who don’t have kids, an insane amount of snacks and juices in a cloth bag, made sure the kids had entertainment (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for Skyler and crayons and a coloring book for Kaylee), got Jack in the car with his leash and water bowl and headed out.  We got to the farmer’s market about 10:00 and the square was thriving with both farmers selling their goods and the people scouring the booths.

Now in order to completely convey the “kindness of strangers” aspect of this story, I have to tell a little bit about myself (shocking, I know).  I often jokingly relate myself with the title character of a short story written by Jonathan Nolan, seamlessly brought to life on the big screen by both Guy Pearce and visionary writer/director Christopher Nolan in the movie titled “Memento”.  The characters name is Leonard Shelby.  If you have never seen this movie, please check it out.  Christopher Nolan is a pure genius.

Leonard Shelby suffered a massive head trauma and lost his ability to retain short term memories.  Similarly, I find myself occasionally suffering from a little problem called CRS or “Can’t Remember Shit”.  One of the side-effects of CRS is habitual losing of personal items.  If you know us personally and ever want to have a good chuckle, ask Alex where I lost my keys for the better part of a year.

So being that I have a penchant for misplacing items, it should have been no surprise that, over the duration of our short stay in our state’s capital, I lost positive control of my debit card.  Hell I didn’t even know it was gone until I received a call that night from a gentleman named Detective Matt Wentzel of the Madison P.D.  I was slightly confused at first as to why this cop was reaching out to me and how he knew who I was.  He then proceeded to inform me, after I verified my identity, that he had my debit card.  Apparently I had dropped it somewhere in the energetic swell of the crowd.

Detective Wentzel then informed me that he was approached by a lady who found it, took the time out of her day to seek out a uniformed police officer, and gave him the debit card in an attempt to ensure it eventually went back to its rightful owner.  When Wentzel called me, he naturally assumed I lived in Madison or the nearby area and, therefore, asked when I would be available to come by and pick it up from him. I told him I lived nearly two hours away and without skipping a beat he asked me for my address so he could mail it to me.  I’m still not really sure if this is standard police protocol or if he went above and beyond the call of duty here.  I’m choosing to believe he went above and beyond, i’m an optimist at heart.

When the letter came in the mail, I had Detective Matt Wentzel’s business card, my debit card back and the letter embedded at the top of this post.  I’m so grateful for both Detective Wentzel and the stranger who could’ve just thrown my card in the trash or left it on the ground to be taken and used maliciously, but instead chose to find a way to make sure my card was safe and returned.  THANK YOU BOTH!!!!!!

And to those who may believe that there exists very little good in this world, in both the civilian and police worlds, please take this example of existing hope.

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