One of the perks of being an international development or humanitarian aid professional is the opportunity to live as a global citizen. While my family has enjoyed its time living in the Middle East, and Eastern Europe we now find ourselves in the fortunate position of living in one of the world’s top tourist destinations: Costa Rica.
While living overseas is certainly one of the perks, it also brings with it the issue of leaving friends and family behind for long periods. So, it’s (almost) always wonderful to accept visitors into your home and your community so they can have a sense of where you live and what you do. While enticing people to come visit us in Jordan was a bit of a task, we don’t find the sell quite so difficult here in the cradle of the tropics.
And so it was, happily, that some of our dear friends came to visit us a few months ago. Like us, they are a family with two small boys and we were excited to not only enjoy our time with our friends but also have our children play together and enjoy the beaches and forests and wild animals.
And so they did, and we had a wonderful time overall. Except for one thing. Only a few days into the trip, my friend lost both his wallet and his watch at the beach where we decided to stay. While the wallet did not contain much, other than identification, the watch was of sentimental value. Even though we spent several hours combing the area we had stayed, and re-counting our steps and actions numerous times, the pair was not to be found.
For some, this could have placed a dark cloud over the remainder of our time together. Luckily, my friend was able to accept this fateful event and thoroughly enjoyed the remainder of the trip. Perhaps this provides insight about his karma and a reason for the chain of actions that happened afterwards.
The day after we lost the watch and wallet, my friend received an e-mail from a woman who had found the wallet. While she was unfortunately already on her way back home, she promised to put the wallet in the mail to him. And, a few weeks later she made good on her promise, even though there was quite literally nothing of major value to return. My friend also asked her about the watch and, sadly she had seen the watch as well, but it had been run over by a car and was destroyed, so she thought nothing of it.
The cloud over the vacation was slightly lifted, as we had resolution about whether or not the articles were stolen or simply lost. Upon hearing from the woman who found the wallet, we knew that it was a simple mistake and thus could move on.
After my friend had returned home, he made one final attempt, a long shot, to see if the watch might be covered through insurance. My friend recounted his story, complete with the discovery and return the wallet, to his agent. It turns out, because the wallet was recovered, and the watch was seen at the same place, the insurance company was able to classify the watch as “stolen”. Because of this, they were able to approve a claim to replace the watch. While it can never completely replace the original gift, my friend will have the exact same make, model and style. And, it’s the thought after all, right?
Its little things like this that restores our faith in humanity amid a daily wash of information about chemical weapons, sports scandals and so much more nefariousness. Let us all seek to be the kindest of strangers to one another.