There are angels among us.  But they don’t look like what I would expect. 

Last week my son Josh left his cell phone in the mens room at Ravenna Park here in Seattle where he often goes to exercise/walk.  For some reason Josh got distracted and left without his phone. 

I don’t have to tell you that this would be a huge concern for any of us who now rely on our phones to augment our brains and help us to think.  

For Josh his iPhone is also his lifeline to help and vital to his ability to communicate. 

I got a call from an unknown phone number.  I almost did not answer, figuring it would be a robot call of some sort.  But I did answer and talked to a person named “James” who had found the phone and called my number which I had put on the back of the phone along with an “if found, please call…” message.  James who offered to hang around the park until I could get there to pick it up for Josh.  

I rushed over to the park, about fifteen minutes from my place, and headed to the meeting place, a patio overlooking the park.  The patio is also the roof to the public restrooms where the phone was found.  

There were three people sitting on benches located on the patio.  The closest person was a clean cut young man working on a laptop who looked like he worked at Amazon or Microsoft. 

The other two were an African-American woman and a similarly aged 20-something guy who were sitting together on the other side of the patio.  The woman looked a little on the “rough” side and the man looked as if he might be living in the park. 

I addressed the Amazonian, secretly I suppose, hoping that he was the James who had found the phone.   He was not James. 

Sheepishly I approached the other two, knowing full well that they had seen me approach the other person first.  

As you have no doubt guessed, James was the disheveled young man who has probably had some rough times.  James handed me the phone and said he did not want any reward. He said he would appreciate it if someone were to do that for him.  He was paying it forward.

The woman suggested that I recognize the good deed on facebook, but James said he didn’t do facebook so I offered to send him a thank you letter.  He gave me his address at my request and said it would be OK if I sent him a note or card, which I have done. 

I was humbled by this simple act of kindness from one of the “lessor” people we see among us daily.  I was also embarrassed that I had not remembered the story of the good samaritan and that we all need to avoid jumping to conclusions about who the “good” people are.  

James is one of them. 

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