Lost and stolen items seem to seek her out

When Good Turns Become A Chance To Teach Kindness

Lost items seem to seek a San Francisco woman out

Some good turns become an opportunity to teach others about kindness. That’s what happened recently to a woman named Rebecca, who works as a nanny in San Francisco. “I’ve just been finding things lately, and just trying to give people back their things,” she told Good Turns recently.

Rebecca was walking with her young charges near a park in Pacific Heights, an affluent neighborhood of the city, when she spotted four backpacks sitting by the curb. “At first I thought some of the kids from one of the nearby schools must be doing something in the park and forgot them,” she recalls. “But there was broken glass around them and I thought, someone dumped these.” When she looked inside the backpacks she found library books from a school in Ross, on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. When she called, the school confirmed that there had been a field trip to a museum in the city, and that one of the cars had been broken into and some backpacks stolen.

“Hey look! That’s the restaurant where we did the good deed!”

Fortunately, one of the parents was still in the city, and was able to meet Rebecca at a restaurant to collect the stolen backpacks. Of course, Rebecca was accompanied by the children she cares for, a three-, five-, and seven-year-old. “They wanted to know what we were doing, so I told them, ‘This is called a good deed.’ And now whenever we pass by that restaurant, they say, ‘Hey look! That’s the restaurant where we did the good deed!'”

A similar opportunity came Rebecca’s way when she found a discarded designer handbag, also in Pacific Heights. The bag had been almost completely emptied — other than a receipt from the Saks Fifth Avenue department store with the owner’s name and client number on it. “I called Saks and tried to tell them that I had found their client’s handbag, but it was hard for them to understand what I was doing,” she remembers. Once she got the Saks representative to take her number, it took a couple of days for the owner to get in touch, but when she did, Rebecca and her young friends were able to return the purse to her. A set of lost keys with a gym membership card attached provided another such opportunity.

Is it possible that lost items seek Rebecca out because they know she’ll be diligent about returning them? “I’m not doing it for notoriety,” Rebecca says. “I had something stolen from me once and it was really disconcerting. That’s not why I do this, but it also reminds me of that feeling.” Being able to demonstrate good turns to the kids she cares for is an added benefit. If the ripples of Rebecca’s kindness echo forward in those children’s lives, it’s one of the most important parts of these particular good turns.

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