Today a man gave me twenty quid. It was a reward twenty quid for returning his wallet and iPhone but it was odd because I hadn’t returned them in order to receive money. I’d returned them because my friend James and I found them on a wall whilst we were walking home from the cinema. There was nobody in sight and we agreed we didn’t feel right leaving them there in case someone less honest came along. We had a look about and couldn’t see anybody and so took them home with the intention to hand them in to the police in the morning.
A quick check of the wallet turned up a driving licence with an address about five minutes across town so I decided it would be simpler to just pop them back round. Which I did, for which the owner in question was very grateful and for which he gave me twenty quid. I tried not to take it, not easy when someone shoves a note into your hand before rapidly withdrawing, leaving you the option to receive the cash or drop it on the floor. I opted for the stutter, protest, stutter thanks and retreat approach to receiving unexpected cash. Then I went back to my car.
I found it weird because neither James or I had done it in order to get a reward, we’d done it because we’re honest people and know that others aren’t and because, if we’d dropped our phone and wallet we’d hope someone would do the same for one of us. In fact Jim had had a similar situation when he’d lost his wallet and had it arrive at his home in a Jiffy bag*, so I think he might have been paying the universe back through his actions. I felt a bit like I should take the money back and explain that wasn’t why I’d brought the wallet round or why we’d picked it up in the first place. I didn’t because I knew it would make me look a right weirdo plus, I know only a fool looks a gift horse in the mouth right? Instead I messaged James and told him I now owed him money because we’d received an unexpected reward for our actions. And then I went home feeling good because, whatever the result, I’d done a very good thing.
*Inretrospect recently we had our previously assumed dead cat (now know as the not dead cat) returned against all odds so I guess I was also paying the universe back in a way.