It was a year ago, I was tired, emotionally drained, did not feel well, but I was determined to go to a work dinner meeting an hour away from home. I was exhausted, but I did not want to let the team down, so I put on my happy face and off I went to the meeting. I made one stop on the way to the meeting, it was to get cash from the ATM, I had college kids to pay that chauffeured my kid around and needed money for other people too. Our meeting was three hours long, I was completely spent at this point, but I gathered up my computer, my computer bag, books, and other materials. At the same time I was leaving, I was receiving numerous phone calls from friends, my husband was interviewing for a superintendent position this same week and the calls, texts, and emails were frequent and high in volume. As I drove away, I answered the phone and headed home.
Once I was home, I started organizing my presentation for Instructional Rounds the following day, and I gathered everything I needed for this professional learning. At that moment, I realized that my purse was not in my possession. My heart was racing, I retraced my steps, searched my car, house, and then realized my fear was true, I left the purse on the floor by my chair in the restaurant. I frantically called the restaurant and a man answered, I asked him about my purse, he said, “Nope, no purse turned in and the dining section you were in is closed”. After pushing him for more information, I learned we were the last group in the dining section, so the purse would have to be in there unless someone from the bar section came in there. The promising news was there was a video in the dining area and we were back in a corner by a fireplace, the purse was out of sight of anyone leaving.
So, after my training the next day, I raced back to the restaurant, which took me two hours to drive and I watched the video. I saw a server pick up “something” exactly where my purse was, however he turned away from the camera so we never could actually see the item in his hand. The manager called the server and he did not respond, when he did call back his manager he said he did not see a purse. I decided to file a police report because no one was very helpful, the owner did not even want to talk about it and avoided me at all costs. So, the officer that arrived at the restaurant told me this usually is not his service area, but he since he got the call at that moment he would deal with it, I knew by listening to his words, there was not much hope in finding my purse. He then proceeded to say, “I’ll talk to them, but don’t plan on seeing that purse again.” Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but okay, let’s see what he thinks about that video. He gave me his number and told me the server had the day off and the officer did not work that weekend, so the best time to contact him would be the next week, on Monday. Oh boy, this purse really is gone!
Eventually, the officer did watch the video and talked to the server, since as the video revealed, the server was only person ever near the purse. Once the server came to work, he said, “Oh, it was a piece of trash I picked up, that is what you see me picking up in the video.” Interesting comment to me, since the table was full of trash, and if it was a napkin or other trash item, why didn’t he just put it on the table? He did not clean up any other “trash” except for exactly where my purse was sitting. After I called and emailed the officer I did get a response, “I saw the video and talked to the server and he denies seeing anything, we can make many assumptions, but since we could not see what exactly was in his hand, it is an assumption, and we can’t do anything about it”.
Wow, this made me sad and angry. All I could think about was, I had kids at school that would confess like crazy over something once I sat down with them and I did not need anything on camera to get to the bottom of things. What is happening here? I was numb. I have found wallets, phones, purses, credit cards, and always turned them in or found the owner. Why wasn’t karma or kindness coming back to me?
I had way too much in that purse, I had an embarrassingly amount of cash, my parents safe deposit box keys (Did you know the cost to drill a safe deposit box is $350 if you lose both keys? I was lucky, I guess you can call it lucky, the bank felt sorry for me and only charged me $150.), all my gift cards (Why do I carry gift cards and not actually spend them?), sunglasses, etc.
I was so angry for a while, but after I vented to family and friends numerous times, I realized…I had to make a choice:
- I could dwell on this experience, make myself miserable and make everyone around me miserable by constantly talking about it.
- I could blast this restaurant on social media. I am sure others would chime in and share their bad experiences there too. I could not believe owner was so insensitive, he should be exposed!
- I could let this go, learn from it, and never make the same mistake again!
After feeling sorry for myself for a bit, I decided, move on lady! Why? Why not go on social media and share this unfairness? Why should I decide to move on and let this go? Well, I have a son, who was 13 at the time, I wanted to show him that adversity will come along, but it is how you handle it is the most important. Many of his middle school friends were at our house that weekend and they were watching how I would handle this situation. There is so much more to life than my purse, however, it felt violating having all my credit cards, license, person information stolen…but, it can all be replaced. No one was hurt (other than my feelings and pride), this too shall pass. I also thought that maybe, just maybe, this person needed the money more than I did. I needed to move on for myself, it was healthier to be positive and get on with living.
Life is all about choices, it is easy to become negative when something unfair happens to you. Stepping back, losing a purse is minor compared to the issues that people are dealing with each day, but when it happens to you, it seems so major. Overall, there are good people in the world and I believe more good exists than bad. I love people and this is not going to dampen my spirit, I certainly will not carry so much in my purse or leave it somewhere again. I have moved to electronic means of payment as well, if I need to pay someone, I see if they have Venmo or PayPal, if not, they can wait until it is convenient for me to hand them a check or cash.
Positivity is critical in life, stay focused and keep your head up and be kind. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and it is part of the path of life, do not let it define you, move forward on your journey and stay positive.
People are good, I see it every day, they:
- Make food for funeral lunches
- Volunteer at hospitals, libraries, and schools
- Give rides to others
- Take other children to practices when parents cannot
- Share expertise or resources at no charge
- Offer kind words in person or social media
- Send messages of kindness
- Pay it forward at coffee shops
- Make meals for others
- Take the elderly to appointments
- Mentor others
- Donate to causes
- Are kind
- Play with children
- Listen to children
- Turn in purses
- Take others to appointments
- Share lunches
- Listen with intention
- Be present
George Couros, author and speaker, always surrounds himself with great people. Do this! I want positive people around me, people that support me, and people that have my back. Last Friday, I was conducting a training for principal coaches and I could not get my son to rehearsal, a senior’s mom knew that I was working and she picked up my son and took him to practice. There is always good in the world.
So, remember when you are upset because the copy machine is broken again or the substitute forgot to do all your plans, it is not the worst thing in the world. Make a choice, pick a positive one, not a negative one where it makes more people miserable. Life is good, let’s focus on positive, choose optimism!
Happy day all!