Contributed by Donna Marie

Gratitude (Charles Shaughnessyblog)


Consider this … two friends take a taxi to Miss Lily’s for brunch.  It’s a birthday celebration and the idea is to let the day come to them.  They have a delicious meal at the restaurant; she selects one of her childhood favorites and he opts for an egg dish with a Jamaican twist.  He takes care of everything so she has no need to go into her pocket to pay for the taxi or the meal.  Fully satisfied they decide to take a walk on a spring-like Saturday afternoon in February.

A few short steps past the restaurant she is drawn to a store with colorful pashmina ponchos and decides to take a closer look.  She buys two at a great price—colors that are perfect for her—and heads out of the store, happy with her very colorful purchases.  On her way out, she is gifted with a silk purse by the owner of the store; a beautiful royal blue (her favorite color) silk purse with drawstrings.  As they continue their walk, a gentleman approaches them, waving a wallet that looks familiar; but, in the moment, she doesn’t realize it’s hers.  How could this man have her wallet —her wallet containing drivers’ license, credit cards and debit cards?  She doesn’t quite get who he is or why he’s waving her wallet (which she hadn’t missed since her companion was treating her for her birthday).  Very soon it registers and she recognizes the gentleman.  It’s the taxi driver who had dropped them off at the restaurant.  The driver with whom she and her companion had had a conversation about Planned Parenthood; he had overheard an exchange between the companions about the decision by the powers that be at  Komen to discontinue their support of Planned Parenthood and, this man, curious about the nature of Planned Parenthood asked about it.  The woman shared how invaluable this organization had been for her, how it had served her as a 17 year old, providing her with reproductive advice, gynecological examinations and birth control and how now, this organization was being vilified and demonized for the very smallest percentage of the services they provide.

The woman is overcome with the amazing serendipity of this event; her companion too is stunned by what he has witnessed.  In the fog of thoughts swirling around they hear the taxi driver saying that he had found the wallet in the backseat of his taxi and, as he was taking a fare in the opposite direction, he caught sight of the couple walking.  He stopped his taxi with the fare in toe, ran across the street, stopped them in their tracks as they were about to cross the intersection and handed the wallet to her.

As the couple pondered the series of events that made this possible they recalled the steps that brought them to this moment—they were dropped off at 11 am, spent roughly 2 hours enjoying their meal and conversation, left and stopped at Mountain Side Craft, Inc.; spent five to ten minutes with the storekeeper and exited the store at the exact time that the taxi driver was passing by on the opposite side of the street. What if she hadn’t been attracted to the colorful array of pashminas at that precise time?

What are the odds of something like that happening? And particularly, what are the odds of this happening in New York City?  It’s hard to imagine.

What forces were at work here?  Was it the poncho selling man offering her a gift of good luck (that’s how he described it) for being his first customer of the day? Was it a matter of coincidence?  Was it divine intervention?  Or was it the response of the universe to someone who says yes to life? Or something else?

Who knows what it was but the couple were stunned with the incredible sequence of events that made this gift possible.  When they played out what if scenarios: she wouldn’t have known her wallet was missing until she went to the Apple store to purchase her birthday gift to herself, the incredulity of the situation took on greater magnitude.  She imagined how frantic she would have been to discover she had lost her wallet and what she would have needed to do to replace the cards in the short window of time before her vacation abroad.  Given that this event occurred on Saturday and she had planned to be on a trip on Monday, it would have been quite a monumental undertaking.

Overwhelmed with gratitude, her companion offers the driver a reward for his magnanimous act and the integrity he displayed—a simple act in a complex web of events that saved her proverbial ass!

Have you ever had a similar experience?  We invite you to comment in the box below.