We live in a world where we are taught to distrust strangers.
Strangers are the kinds of people that cut you off in traffic, butt in line, steal your wallet, and generally just don’t care about your safety or wellbeing.
This of course is reinforced by the kinds of stories we read in the newspaper, see on the television, and hear on the radio. The media glorifies people mutilating other people’s bodies for fun, politicians stealing our money to fund their extravagant lifestyles, and celebrities using their fame and fortune to accelerate their own destruction.
So it’s no surprise that when we find ourselves at the mercy of strangers we expect very little.
Like this week when Mr. A lost his iPhone on the Metro. We simply assumed it was stolen, never to be returned. I mean that’s what happened to his wallet.
Hours were spent cancelling the account and researching new phone options because surely no stranger would be kind enough to not take advantage of our unlucky circumstances.
That’s until God reminds you of the goodness of people. For he calls us in Deuteronomy to a higher level of responsibility toward our fellow man:
“If you see your fellow Israelite’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to its owner. If they do not live near you or if you do not know who owns it, take it home with you and keep it until they come looking for it. Then give it back. Do the same if you find their donkey or cloak or anything else they have lost. Do not ignore it.”
About four hours after Mr. A’s phone went missing, I received a call on my cell phone from an odd number. It was a Verizon Wireless store in Maryland calling to say that someone had dropped off my husband’s phone.
A stranger took it upon themselves to help out someone they didn’t even know because it was the right thing to do. And this person went way above and beyond the call of duty. Originally, they tried to turn the phone into the Metro Lost and Found (a black hole of sorts) when they got off at their Metro stop. Unfortunately that particular Metro stop didn’t have one. So the stranger looked at the phone, realized it was Verizon was the carrier, and walked the phone over to a Verizon store.
It was a simple, sweet gesture that in the end saved not only our wallets but also our faith in our fellow man. Often, we focus so intently on the sins and misgivings of other people that we forget that beautiful, gracious, kind people exist too.
Thank you God for using this opportunity to remind us that all your creatures, even strangers, are thoughtful, selfless people. I just hope that I get the change to pay this favor forward.
Have you been surprised by the kindness of strangers? What has it taught you about God’s people?