BREAKING NEWS: GOOD PEOPLE DO EXIST.
Last Thursday, apparently I lost my wallet. I did not know I lost my wallet. In fact, if I hadn’t received the email from the police department the following afternoon, I probably would not have noticed until I was late for an important meeting and could not find my wallet anywhere.
But I did not know. So the email was all like, Surprise! We gotz yer wallet! Come an’ get it. Humdiddlydum, Police Guys.
And I was all: ……….Oh.
So after somehow muddling on my boots and feeling pretty nervous, I mucked down to the police station where they had my wallet. It’s actually a simple process–thankfully for my mental well-being–and the first thought I had when I got my wallet and opened it up was, Thank GOD, good people DO exist!
Everything was still in it, exactly as I’d left it. The police had taken out my cash and ID to put in a little plastic baggy ostentatiously labeled “EVIDENCE,” but aside from that, all was well with the world. Or at least with my wallet. I almost kissed the police officer in happiness, but I hurried away before I could give in to the impulse and be arrested for unmeditated assault.
Before I left, I asked where and when they had found it, and the officer told me it had been around one of the streets near Trader Joe’s. Somebody had turned it in about 5 minutes after I passed that spot the night before.
I thought back.
The last place I could remember pulling out my wallet to use was at TJ’s, when I decided to stop by to grab groceries after a nighttime gym run. It was almost closing time, so I was the second-to-last customer in line for the express lane.
It’s moments like these that make me glad I like to interact with strangers, because I remember his face pretty clearly, and I definitely would not have if I’d kept my earbuds in. I had been chatting with the woman in front of me about those snacks they pile up to tempt you in front of the cash registers–you know, the extra-yummy ones they’re hoping you’ll snag up as an impulse buy. She was telling me about how she’d given in many-a-time before and had been…disappointed. We both eyed the chocolate candy bark warily as she finished up her purchase, said goodbye, and left.
Then came the conversation with the cashier. He was a tall, skinny guy around my age who looked cheerful for someone running the closing shift. I told him it had started raining outside and we discussed the pain of traveling through downpours–I was walking home and he was biking all the way back that night. I think we must have chatted for a considerable while as we struggled to cram every last grocery into my bag. As I threw the bag over my shoulder, he added: “I heard you talking about the candy bark earlier. It’s really good. You should get it next time, you know.”
I told him I would, thanked him, said goodbye, and left.
Somewhere along the way, my wallet grew legs, sprang out of my bag, and opened the door to an unexpectedly serendipitous encounter.
I recalled all these events as I walked out of the police station on Friday afternoon, and on a sudden impulse I steered toward Target, which is located across the street from TJ’s. I bought a Thank You card (the sweet older woman who worked at the cashier nearly melted when she heard my story), scribbled a message into it, sealed it up, and brought it over to one of the TJ’s cashiers, where one of the girls I recognized by sight was working. I explained to her what had happened and how I thought my cashier the night before might have returned my wallet–and that even on the off chance he hadn’t, I wanted to know if I could leave a thank you card for him anyway. I showed her my receipt from the night before and the name of the cashier printed at the bottom. Then I grabbed a pack of chocolate candy bark off the shelf as she went to find the manager, and I told them that I wanted to give him the box to go with the card, too.
The two of them standing there–the manager and the cashier–completely supportive and not at all weirded out by what probably seemed like a very strange request: the whole situation felt like a miracle in miniature. It reassured me that human goodness and hope do exist, in tiny nooks and unnoticed crannies. They told me he wasn’t working that day, but that they would set it aside for him and give it to him when he came in. As I thanked them and turned to leave, I think I saw them exchanging two of the most genuine smiles I have seen in a very long time.
I have no way of knowing what anyone else thinks of the whole thing, if they were laughing about it afterward, or even if the anonymous cashier will get the small thank-you. I decided at the last minute, however, to include a postscript in my card with my email address, with a note that he could get in touch in case I’d gotten the wrong person and he wanted to let me know, so I could continue my search.
We feel good about doing good deeds for others–that’s a fact–but it’s not often we are in a position to do a good deed for the do-gooders in this world. Whoever did this small act of kindness for me saved me a world of trouble. More importantly, however, this individual reminded me that my trust in the goodness of people has not been misplaced, and that it should not take a holiday season for us to remember that.
So to the do-gooder still wandering around out there, acknowledged (if I got it right) or unacknowledged (as the case may be): here is the little corner of the web where I say, Thank you!
Thank you for the wallet.
Thank you for the consideration.
And thank you for helping share the breaking news this December: Good people really do exist.
PS So do deceptively ugly-looking caramelized banana upside-down rum cakes, in case you were actually wondering about this recipe. Damn good, rum-soaked, caramelized goodness. That’s all I can say.
Love and gratitude,
For the caramelized bananas:
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon Kahlua or other rum
- 2 medium bananas, sliced diagonally
For the banana cake [adapted from Something Swanky|http://www.somethingswanky.com/banana-crumble-cake-hope-cake/?utm_source=feedly&utm_reader=feedly&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=banana-crumble-cake-hope-cake]:
- 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups white sugar
- 3 medium ripe bananas (or about 1.5 cups), mashed
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the rum cake soak:
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup Kahlua or other rum
For the caramelized bananas:
- In a medium pot, melt butter. Add brown sugar and cinnamon; heat over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Turn off heat and stir in Kahlua. Add bananas and mix in until coated.
- Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Fan out soaked banana slices in a spiral, overlapping as necessary to fill all the gaps. Pour remaining sauce carefully over bananas--make sure not to pour too quickly or your bananas will float apart!
For the banana rum cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, cream cheese, and white sugar until fluffy. Mix in mashed bananas.
- Add eggs and vanilla. Stir in until combined.
- Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Mix in until just incorporated--be careful not to overmix!
- Pour 2/3 batter carefully and evenly over the bananas in your 9-inch springform pan, making sure not to disturb the bananas. Reserve remaining batter for muffins or a separate mini loaf (which you can bake at 350 degrees for 15-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean).
- Bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center (but not to the bottom) of the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging it to it.
For the rum cake soak:
- 10 minutes before your cake finishes baking, prepare your rum soak.
- In a medium saucepan, combine butter, water, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in rum.
For the assembly:
- Right as your cake comes out of the oven, use a toothpick to poke holes all over the top (which will turn into the bottom once you flip it). Brush the rum sauce all over the cake, getting as much of it to soak into the cake as you can.
- Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, then carefully remove your springform pan ring (if your cake is still too hot to remove in one neat piece, let it cool a bit more before removing ring). Carefully flip the cake over onto a large serving platter, so that the banana side faces up. Poke holes all over the sides and top of the cake, then brush with additional rum glaze. Keep at it! Wait for the glaze to soak into the cake before continuing to brush; it takes several coatings to use up all your sauce.
- Serve up and enjoy! Keep remaining cake refrigerated and tightly foiled.
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