This afternoon, I had another one of those moments where circumstance put me in the position of going out of my way to help a complete stranger. And of course, I couldn't help but go through with it.
Around 2:30, feeling a little sleepy-headed at my desk, I decided to go across the street to Cosi and get my usual iced mocha with soy. As I normally do, I went down to the concourse below street level and emerged on the other side, at 48th and 6th. As I was ascending the stairs to street level, I saw a woman on the sidewalk above look down and then call out to a group of people who had just walked by, "Excuse me, did one of you drop an ATM card!"
I emerged onto the sidewalk at that moment. One young African-American woman came over to take a look just as I reached down for it. I read off the name, which was clearly a Korean name, though I could not determine the gender, and the woman turned around and went back the way she was going, knowing that it was not hers.
It was a Citibank debit card with a toll free number on the back. I decided I would get my iced mocha and then call the number when I got back to my desk. Naturally, I botched the number at first, because Citibank, like so many other companies, uses letters instead of numbers (which is something that really fucking annoys me!), and I wrote down one of the numbers wrong. After realizing my error upon encountering numerous busy signals, I dialed the correct number and spoke to a customer service representative. I gave her my work and telephone number so that the cardholder could call me.
To my surprise, the cardholder must have gotten the message rather swiftly, as I received a call from an outside line around 4 p.m., with the voice of a heavily accented Korean lady on the other line. In addition to her accent, she must have been in a rather cavernous room, as there was a tremendous echo that made it difficult to understand her. She acknowledged the echo and told me that she would call me back. Several minutes later she called again, and we made arrangements to meet at the corner of 6th and 47th.
To wrap this story up, I met her at the appointed location and returned her ATM debit card to her. After the exchange of the usual pleasantries in situations like this, we went our separate ways.
So what are the lessons to be learned from this? First, ducking away from your desk to grab an iced coffee drink can become the catalyst for doing a good deed. Second, for religious people reading this who like to diss' on atheists, someday a total stranger will go out of his or her way to help you, and that stranger might turn out to be an atheist.