I’d like to share a small but significant example of why I love this place. My wife has been shedding personal possessions with reckless abandon in the last few weeks – all part of the pregnancy process, she tells me – and most recently it was her much-treasured iPad she left behind.
It was Saturday, and we were in a West End café having a muffin with our nephew when my wife looked at me in consternation and squeaked something about having left it on a bench in the park, or if not there, then anywhere else we’d been in the last two hours. I dashed to the park (no luck), then to the various shops we’d visited. By the time I reached Wray Avenue, not only did I excite the attention of some passing ambulance officers (“another customer”, I could see them thinking) but I’d pretty much given up hope of recovering the iPad.
However, I struck it lucky in the first shop I checked. An immensely considerate soul had not only found the iPad on a bench, they’d left their contact details with every trader in the area – every single one – on the off chance we’d come looking in one of the shops. And when I called the number, they stopped whatever they were doing and met me to return the iPad straight away, to put my mind at rest.
A community that deserves the name
The experience put me in mind of a similar situation I recently encountered in London. My wife and I were taken out to a pub by some friends, and as we sat down we discovered a wallet that had been left behind. The group of people that had vacated the table had only just disappeared out the door, so I quickly jumped up to give chase when one of my friends (a London native) put a restraining hand on my shoulder.
“It’s best not to get involved – you can’t be sure it belonged to them. Just leave it at the counter and the staff will follow it up.”
I’ve been grateful ever since that I’m lucky enough to live in a community that still deserves the name, where people will put themselves out to help a stranger, and Saturday confirmed it for me.
By the time I returned to the café, there was only a scrap of muffin left and nothing in the tea pot, but I’ve rarely seen my wife so elated and relieved, and my nephew got a lot of enjoyment out of the funny new colour of Uncle Swaney’s face. He was even happier when I ate the last scrap of muffin – “Look Aunty Ness, Uncle Woney had the bit that went on the floor!”