There’s something lovely about having your faith in human nature restored after it’s had a bit of a beating, isn’t there?
This last week I encountered two strangers who did that for me.
On Friday I was helping my friend E move out of her flat and put her belongings into storage. She had hired the services of Scott, a ‘man with a van’. As I’d helped E move into her (third floor) flat a year ago, I was hoping that Scott would know what he was doing.
With the benefit of hindsight it was such a modest wish. I hadn’t hoped for cheerfulness and care, nor jokes. But that’s what we got too. It turned what might have been a chore, running up and downstairs with boxes and bags, into something fun and full of laughter.
At one point I had attempted to lift one box and decided it was too heavy to handle on my own. Scott put another equally heavy one on top of it, and lifted both together and trotted down the stairs, only a little out of breath, cracking a joke about preferring bungalows.
When we got to the storage facility he was the expert on how big a lock-up E needed to rent, going into the depths of the warehouse with the manager to assess the available units, and I think E felt looked after, under the wing of someone who wanted the right result.
It was good to be reminded that one person’s cheerfulness and industry can influence and change everyone’s enjoyment of an experience. It’s a skill I’m not sure I possess, but perhaps it’s possible to learn……
The second story also involves E. She had lost (or had stolen) her wallet the night before the move; a nightmare, not only for the loss of credit cards and cash, but for all the other bits of history usually kept there; membership cards, library cards, licenses, things we all have, rarely use, but would be sad to lose.
After we’d finished the move and I’d gone home, I heard from E that she had been contacted via a club of which she was a member; a man called Jason had found her purse in a builder’s yard, but not just any builder’s yard, one that is just five minutes from my home.
The weirdness of that coincidence is still causing me pause; E lives about 5 miles away from me, and thought she had lost the purse on a bus on her way home from the West End, a journey that would pass nowhere near me.
So on Saturday I walked to the builder’s yard. I don’t think they get many women popping in, so as soon as I was through the door and asked to see Jason, they all knew I was there for the purse.
He told me that he’d found it by a pile of bricks, and it must have been chucked over the wall. He’d looked through it and picked three or four of the cards out, the club, a dentist appointment card, a university pass, and tried to contact E through them.
Each time, when he thought he’d reached a dead end, he tried another one. That’s quite a lot of effort at detection, and just to do the right thing.
What a Gent.