pay it forward

Five and a half years ago, I had a week of really terrible luck. While driving to Milwaukee to see Lords of Acid, I got a speeding ticket for ~ $165. My options were to pay on the spot or go to jail – so, of course, I paid. My then-husband was furious, and I remember him barely speaking to me the rest of the way to the show. Upon arriving, I tucked my ID and debit card in my pack of cigarettes, which I tucked into the top of my stocking – something I did fairly regularly, since I’ve never been one to carry a purse. Within five minutes of getting into the venue, the pack had fallen out of my stocking, leaving me with no ID, no debit card, and no cash. My ex continued to be furious with me – and mainly with good reason – though my friends helped me to make the best of the evening.

Less than a week later, driving to Milwaukee for another show, I got another speeding ticket. That’s over $300 in tickets in less than a week – at a time when we were both basically making ends meet, but not much more. I didn’t have any way of paying on the spot, so I was lucky that the cop was called away, and I was able to send in a cashier’s check.

About a week after the second ticket, a small white envelope arrived in the mail containing my ID, debit card, and a note. Someone had found my stuff while cleaning up the venue, smoked the rest of the cigarettes, and mailed my cards back to me with a note explaining as much.

It’s been 5 1/2 years, but I still have that note and envelope somewhere, as I always meant to write the guy and thank him. Instead, I’m hoping that I’m repaying the good karma dealt to me by mailing back the wallet I found this morning on my walk to school.

I’ve had kind of a rough day at work today, and sometimes the littlest gestures of kindness make everything better.


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