2022 rung in by my personal Christmas angel!
Let me share with you a little Christmas tale that may restore your faith in humanity, if even for a moment...
It’s been a tumultuous few weeks to say the least. An emotional roller coaster beginning with an amazing trip and spiraling from there. But let me start from the beginning. After a number of cancelled family vacations this year, thanks to COVID, my mom gifted my husband and I the opportunity for a trip across the country by offering to watch the kids. The first childless trip in years. We quickly packed our bags and headed west for 4 nights of wine and sights in San Francisco and Napa. And a 6 hour flight would allow me to catch up on my last few sessions of the year.
What a treat! We truly had an amazing and relaxing time!
Until....on literally our final hour, after a notification of a flight delay, we decided to stop to see the “painted ladies” on our way to the airport. Anyone familiar with the show Full House would recognize this iconic row of houses. A must see! We parked our car in front of the park and went to take a few pictures.
As we were walking back to the car 20 minutes later my husband commented "Did I leave the back window open?" to which I quickly replied, "I hope not because my back pack is in there." "Well, it's not anymore," he answered as we gazed across the street.
As we crossed over reality quickly set in as my brain did a scan of what was actually in that back pack. The answer...EVERYTHING. Not only my wallet, vax cards, designer shades and general carry on items but my computer, iPad and my MAIN backup photography hardrive and flash drive! My whole work life! The gravity of what this meant took a moment to set it. Not only did I have no ID for the airport but 7 years of backup work was gone! I fell to the ground and burst into tears. From there we managed to file a police report, drive down the highway making bank calls (while trying to hear the person on the other end over the highway noise tearing through our back seat as additional pieces of glass continued to fall). return and car and plead our case to TSA, who after some questions let me through and we miraculously made our flight. But my devastation was numbing. Trying to figure out in my head how I was going to piece back together years of work. We got home in the middle of the night and I fell into bed.
"At least everyone is alright." That was the reply of nearly everyone we talked to. And it's true. No one was hurt. Things could have been a lot worse. But I was not "alright." Yes, it was stupid for me to bring my main back ups across the country, but I had work to do and it just didn't occur to me that something like this could happen. And was this my ONLY back up? No. But was it the only one with every photo I've taken in last seven years? Yes. And let me tell you, that's a lot.
The next evening I received an odd Facebook message. Someone claimed they had found my vaccination card and maybe my bag. She said she’d call me in the morning. I was very anxious, but apprehensive about what this could mean. In the morning I arranged a FaceTime call with, who I later learned was a 70 year old historian living on the outskirts of San Francisco. She told me that her and her son had spotted a dumping ground on the side of the highway near their home in the past. She said they can tell if it’s happened recently because the homeless population living nearby hasn’t reached it yet. On this particular day it appeared it had just happened when her son drove by and so he called her. She immediately went over to collect as much as she could. In the process a patrol car stopped to see what she was up to and quickly left when she asked if they’d claim responsibility for all of the lost possessions. She brought everything she could home and sorted it in her garage. On the face time call she scanned the room where there were multiple piles of suitcases, electronics, cards, passports, clothing and personal items. It was amazing! And among those items I spotted my backpack, vax cards, most credit cards, designer sunglasses, books AND my precious hard drives!!! I couldn’t believe it!! I burst into tears and profusely thanked her!! She told me that she felt sad this was happening to people visiting her city and just wanted them to get back what they lost if she could. She quickly dropped it in the mail and I received it a few days later with miraculously no damage to my drives.
Seriously, what are the odds? I was totally flabbergasted! There were so many factors at play. The bags being spotted, someone caring enough to go take a look. A good person - not someone ready to pawn everything they found. Someone who had an appreciation for history and their city. Someone who knew how to use technology to track people down. Someone willing to take on a significant shipping cost on blind faith for a stranger. So many things that could have gone the other way. It really makes you think there might be something going on up there, doesn't it? And this women truly is an angel!
The whole tale was a story of luck and human compassion and was absolutely my very own Christmas miracle! I sent Edie a note, a print of a historic map of San Francisco and a bit of reward money which she told me she deposited into her grandchildren's account.
In a world full of so much mistrust, hate and sadness, it made me undeniably happy to find there really are still good people willing to go out of their way to do what is right! I tear up just thinking about it.
Plus, insurance covered my equipment - so I got upgrades! In your face bad guys!! 😉
I hope this story provides you with some warm and fuzzies and sends you into the new year with happy thoughts!
Here's to a 2022 full of love and positivity!