Call Me Diogenes

Incident the First

On the way home Guido needs to stop at Publix for the ingredients she needs to concoct whatever it is she’s making for the evening’s entertainment.  I’m driving — I have eyesight now and Guido sits there clenching her jaw and using her foot on the passenger-side brake — and we pull into the Dania store parking lot at 5th and Sheridan.  We locate a parking spot with a cart beside it inside of which there’s an abandoned woman’s handbag.

Guido pops out and examines the bag before I can phone Homeland Security to about a possible bomb.  “Serious,” she reports.  “Lots of cash.  A passport.  Credit cards.”

I figure we’re set for another few months.

“I’ll take it inside,” she says.  “Whoever lost this will be back for it, and after she looks and finds it missing,  she’ll go to the manager and ask if anybody turned it in.”

I suggest instead that I remain outside, guarding the item, while Guido starts her shopping and if the owner doesn’t turn up by the time she’s finished, then we’ll turn it in.  Which is what we do.

I put the handbag on the roof of my car and wait.  In less than five minutes a smallish sedan rolls in, driven by a woman in her late 20s or early 30s, a child in the back seat among various beach items.  She pulls up behind my parked car and stares over at the shopping cart, at which point I capture her attention by holding up the bag.

Relief floods her face.  She throws herself out of the car, puts a hand on my shoulder and plants a big kiss on my dirty unshaved cheek.  “Good man,” she says, “Thank you!”  She doesn’t look inside the bag, just shakes her head ruefully and says, “I’d lose my own head if it wasn’t attached.”

I give her a smile and a wave and advise her to be careful.  She nods her head, sighs, and roars off.   I lock up and head into Publix, noting to myself that sincerity is a true turn on, which is why I’ve soiled my shorts.  (Okay, I made that part up.)

Incident the Second

After lunch with a famous blogger at Jack’s Hollywood Diner, I pay in cash.  The waitress gives me a dollar too much change.  I call her over and return it.  She grits her teeth, says, “Yeah.  Thanks.  You’re a good man,”  and the grit becomes a smile.  We leave, and the whole wait staff says Good-bye  Come Again.

Analysis

1.  I agree: I’m a good man.  I have the 3-digit bank account to prove it.  But —

2.  Wouldn’t most people have done what I did?  Still —

3.  Had the roles been reversed, I would not have been surprised to find the handbag missing when I returned, and the cashier charging me back a dollar for my error, because —

4.  It only takes one floating turd to ruin an entire punch bowl, and the way we live now, we always anticipate that punch bowl at our party.

Really, that’s all I can draw from these incidents, but I’m interested in readers’ reactions (except Kent Standit’s and Hugh Bris’s.  Perverts.).

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12 Responses to Call Me Diogenes

  1. I would have swiped everything. Maxed out the credits cards, spent the cash on fancy wines. An extra passport is always handy.

    Then blamed the caper on a “Bushy Haired Stranger” who held me at gun point.

    There is no reason to be a “good man” anymore. Look at Congress

  2. Merkin Way says:

    I agree that most people would do what you did. Most people are inherently honest, and understand at least that by conducting themselves properly, they increase the odds of somebody else conducting himself properly if the situation was reversed. Still, like you, had it been me who lost his property, I would not have been shocked to see it had been ripped off. Which explains why the young lady was so relieved to see she hadn’t been.

    She didn’t even check to see if everything she left behind was still intact and untouched, did she?

  3. Hugh Bris says:

    Me, I would have returned it alright, but either helped myself to a 10 or 20 buck service fee (she wouldn’t have missed it anyway) or at the very least grabbed some ass. Loser.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Diogenes…that’s a competitor to Levi’s Jeans, isn’t it. Oh, Di-Ah-jen-nees, never mind. Since this happened in Florida I would not only expect the handbag to go missing in total , I would expect the finder to call the owner, have her come over to get the bag, kill her , dismember her, eat the good parts and then give the rest in a bag to the SPCA as dog meat , but heck, that’s just me and I live in Masasachusetts. Lucky for her Guido is your Jiminy Cricket..and that a real crook didn’t find it….like Tim Geithner ot Eric Kantor. And also, thanks, that was my wife just waving at you in the parking lot. Thanks for the new handbag. Wonder who it belonged to?

    • Odtley says:

      anonymous if you want to stay anonymous don’t include your link in your comment now everybody knows who you are not that anybody cares for all we know you could be diogenes or demosthenes or dysfunctional too

  5. Kim Chee says:

    I lost my handbag once and called all the credit card companies and DMV and whoever I had to. It never turned up and nobody tried to use the cards on the ID so I considered myself lucky, on balance. OTOH, nobody did what you did either. I agree most people are honest but some more honest than others.

  6. ya'gotta'guessit says:

    I once found an ATM card on the street, and completey freaked the owner out by phoning her.

    This was early Google and pre-Facebook days, so it involved a little work on my part. But instead of gratitude or relief, the woman gave off a real “am I being stalked?” vibe.

    You know what? Thinking about it now, she really *was* an asshole about the whole thing.

    I should’ve taken that card to the 7/11, and tried every PIN I could think of.

    Fucking ungrateful cunt.

    (Men are such pigs)

    • Piles says:

      I would chalk this one up to “No good deed goes unpunished.” I had a smiliar experience not too long ago. Some people just aren’t emotionally prepared to accept that not everybody out there wants to screw them over.

  7. NicFitKid says:

    In these heavily policed times, you risk arrest when picking up lost purses or wallets. It’s up to you to take the risk (and I applaud you for it, but I won’t be mailing you any lanterns, that’s on your own dime).

    Also, leave that suspicious, abandoned vehicle parked outside your property alone. As the good Admiral says, “It’s a trap!

    • Hose B says:

      Law enforcement gone rogue. It’s what happens when cops lose perspective and figure the arrest is the only thing that matters, not watchful citizens, not prevention, not community partnering, etc.

  8. Inquiring Minds says:

    I once pulled up to an ATM to discover not only had the previous customer not taken his card (which could be used as a credit card) but left with the machine still accessible to his accounts. I’m proud to say that I didn’t even have to think twice (Although I did run through the possibilities) before I hit the “Return Card” button (and not the “Another Transaction?” button). As soon as I was done at the drive-thru I parked and went into the bank, even though it was an inconvience. When I turned the card in to the customer service rep at the front she looked at me like I had 3 heads. I don’t exactly remember what she said but I got the impression she was stunned at my honesty, especially when I told her the cutomer had left the ATM totally accessible to their accounts. She assured me she would contact the customer.

    I guess my point is that yes basically human nature is to be honest. And yes I agree….you are a good man (in spite of yourself).

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