Marlon was driving his truck down West 19th street on Monday morning, when he saw something in the middle of street that made him slam on the brakes. To the protests of the other driver in the cab, he stopped his truck and got out to pick up the wallet that was just sitting there.
My wallet. The wallet I’d dropped out of my bag on the way to work, ruining my day and causing me all sorts of headache.
Marlon called me a bunch of times over the course of the day, to no avail. He kept at it until finally, at 7:30pm, we finally connected on the phone and spoke for a while. He told me what had happened, how he’d been trying to get a hold of me, how his friend thought he was crazy for stopping, and how I had a “really big wallet!!” (I carry around too many cards). We laughed about that. And then he asked me when we could meet so he could give me my wallet back – with (of course) every last dollar and card intact. His only disappointment was that he hadn’t gotten to me soon enough to avoid my cancelling all my credit cards.
What strikes me is how easy it is to do the right thing and how clear it is what the right thing is. I think that what happens is that, at the initial moment when we have a decision to make, we obfuscate and justify and tell ourselves and others all sorts of stories that get in the way of what we know: the simple, clear, right thing to do.
Marlon, you’re a model to me and a model to us all. You make me wonder why something that was so simple and easy for you is not simple and easy for everyone. And you give me hope.