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Lost and Found

I’ll go ahead and list both of the thirty-day journaling challenge prompts for today, but I’m choosing to only do the creative prompt today. I had surgery on Monday to revise my Medtronic Enterra gastric stimulator and today has been a challenging day. Along with the soreness from surgery, I’ve been dealing with a migraine today. I really don’t feel like making up an argument. I love writing fictitious or made up stories though, so I’m going to do the creative prompt.

Personal Prompt: Write an argument between you and someone else, and include how it can end on a constructive, if not positive, note.

Creative Prompt: You are walking down a street and you find a shopping bag full of… Continue the story.

Note: This is a made up story…it is not true! All events and people described in this story are fictitious. Any similarity to any event or person is coincidental.

The Mysterious Shopping Bag

I had just pulled my car into a parking spot, dropped some money into the parking meter, and started walking down the street, when I passed an elderly gentleman dressed in a dark grey suit and wearing a top hat. He had just left the bus stop and I noticed a shopping bag sitting there. I quickly spoke up, “Sir, I believe you may have left your shopping bag.”

Sitting next to the wooden bench, where people waited for the next bus, sat a small reusable shopping bag. The bag was zipped closed. It appeared to be a thermal bag used for keeping things hot or cold.  It was a light blue color with flowers on it. The flowers looked like they may have been bright vivid colors at some point, but had faded from years of use.

The man stopped and glanced back to see what I was talking about, “Ma’am, that’s not mine, it was there when I climbed off the bus.”

Concerned that someone had left behind something of importance, I asked, “Sir, was anyone waiting to board the bus when you climbed off?”

“Why yes, a young woman with two young children was waiting to board the bus. The young lady was trying to calm a crying baby in her arms while holding tightly to a little boys hand as she boarded the bus.”

I was interested in finding out more, so that I might be able to help reunite the shopping bad and it’s owner.  I stated, “Maybe this is her bag.” Then I went on to ask the gentleman, “Do you remember what she looked like?”

Hurriedly the man explained to me, “Ma’am, I would love to help you solve this mystery and return the bag to its rightful owner, but I’m kind of in a hurry. You see my daughter is getting married today. I’ve had today all planned out in my mind for weeks, but when I went out to my car this morning, it would not start. I hurried to the nearest bus stop a mile from my house and caught the bus into town. If I don’t go now, I’m going to be late.”

I could see the concern in the man’s eyes. He thought he was going to be late for his daughter’s wedding. “Sir, I understand. Where are you headed?”

“She’s getting married at the small country church on Bluebell Street at 2:30 this afternoon. I really must go now.”

I thought about how proud this man must have been getting ready to walk his daughter down the aisle. I knew the church he was headed to and walking, he was going to barely make it there in time. Knowing how stressed he must be, I said, “Sir, my car is parked right there,” as I pointed to my car only feet from where we were standing, “I’m not in a hurry, I was just going to the craft shop to pick up a few items. Would you let me drive you over to the church?”

A smile came over the gentleman’s face as he replied, “Ma’am that’s very generous, but I’m a stranger and I couldn’t ask you to go out of your way to give me a ride. Thanks for offering to help.” With that said, the man took off walking down the street in hopes of making it to his daughter’s wedding on time.

My car just happened to be parked in the direction the man was walking. I quickly followed him, opened my car door, and said, “Sir, you may not have asked, but I know how important it is for a Daddy to walk his little girl down the aisle. I’m going to make sure you get there on time.”

A small tear slipped from the gentleman’s eye as he climbed into the car. The church was only about a seven minute drive away. I wasn’t in any hurry. There was no reason I couldn’t help this gentleman out. On the way there, the man kept thanking me for giving him a ride. He explained that his wife had helped his daughter with decorating the church the night before and spent the night in town at their daughter’s apartment. He knew everyone was at the church getting ready and he didn’t want to be a bother, so when his car wouldn’t start he had hurried to catch the bus into town. He said if he had called the church someone would have driven out to give him a ride, but it was quicker to catch the bus that was already there than to wait for someone to drive out to pick him up. They were not expecting him to arrive for another twenty minutes, so he didn’t see any reason to call ahead and cause his daughter to stress over his car not starting. He said, “It’s her special day and I didn’t want her to have to worry over whether I am going to be on time to walk her down the aisle.”

As I listened to the gentleman speak of his wife and daughter, I could sense the love he had for his family. As I pulled my car into the church parking area, I looked at the gentleman and said, “I pray your daughter and her husband enjoy many happy years together.” He offered to pay me for driving him there, but I refused. I pulled out of the parking lot and left. I felt warm inside knowing I had helped make someone’s day a little easier.

Now, I needed to pick up the yarn I needed from the craft store and go home and get to work on the baby blanket I was going to make for a friend. I again pulled into my parking spot, dropped some money in the parking meter, and began to walk down the street to the craft shop. Just as I started to pass the bus stop, the shopping bag caught my eye. I really needed to get to the store and get home, but that bag needed to be taken care of also.

I knew the bag wasn’t mine. Anything could be inside the bag, so I didn’t think I should open it. I didn’t want to be accused of stealing the bag either, so I knew I couldn’t move it. Thankfully, the bus stop was located in front of city hall. The local police station was located on the first floor of the city hall building, so I didn’t have to go far for help. I stepped inside the door and reported that there was a shopping bag sitting unattended at the bus stop.

Since I was the one to report the bag, the police needed some information from me. They handed me some papers to fill out. I began filling in the blanks with my name, address, phone number… the usual stuff.  Meanwhile, a group of officers had went out to investigate. Not knowing what was inside the bag, the police had to mark the area off until they had determined what was in the shopping bag. They opened the bag and declared the area safe.

As the officers came back into the office, I glanced up from the paperwork I was filling out and noticed they had brought the shopping bag inside with them. The paper I was filling out asked where I had found the missing item I was turning in. That was easy, I had found it at the bus stop in front of city hall. The paper also asked for a description of what I had found. All I knew was that I had seen a light blue shopping bag, so I asked the officer at the desk if that was what I was supposed to put. He informed me that all they really needed from me was my name and contact information in case they had questions later on.  He took the paper and told me I was free to go.

I left the police station, went to the craft store, picked out my yarn, bought it, and went home. As I sat at home knitting a blue and green chevron patterned baby blanket for the baby my friend had recently adopted, I began thinking about my day. I thought about the gentleman I had met on the street. As I thought of him, I could still see the joy in his eyes as he spoke of his daughter’s wedding. I thought of the mysterious shopping bag, I had no idea what was inside it, but I wondered if it would ever make it back to its owner. I had wanted to ask the officer what was in the bag, but didn’t figure they would tell me because it really wasn’t any of my business, so I hadn’t asked. I thought about the baby I was knitting the blanket for. His story was as much a mystery to me as the contents of the bag.

For the next few weeks, I passed a lot of time with my knitting needles, working on that blanket. Each time I picked it up to work on it, I thought of the gentleman I had met the day I went to buy the yarn and that always caused me to think of the mystery of the well-worn pale blue flowered shopping bag.

Months passed. I had finished the baby blanket and given it to my friend for her baby. I went out one morning to check my mailbox and inside I found an envelope from the local police station. When I opened the envelope, there were two letters inside. The first letter was from the chief of police thanking me for reporting the abandoned shopping bag I had noticed at the bus stop. He explained that they had been able to return the bag to the woman it belonged to. The second letter was from the woman who had lost the bag. She explained that she had taken the bus into town that day because she needed to take her six month old baby to the doctor. The baby had been running a high fever all night and she had been up all night taking care of her. She couldn’t find anyone to watch her three-year old son, so she had taken him to town with her. When she got home, she realized she had left her shopping bag somewhere, but she wasn’t sure where. So that she didn’t have so much to hold on to, she had dropped everything  into that one bag. I had been correct, the bag was an insulated thermal shopping bag used to keep things either hot or cold. She had carried that bag because she didn’t know how long she would be out and she needed to keep the baby’s formula and her son’s sippy cups of milk and juice cold.

Thanks to me reporting the missing bag, the police had been able to return the mysterious shopping bag to its rightful owner and the mystery of what was inside the shopping bag was no longer a mystery. As I was walking down the street, I had found a shopping bag that contained a woman’s purse, her young son’s cup of milk and cup of juice, her baby’s bottle and formula, and the medicine the doctor had just prescribed for the sick baby. In the letter, the lady kept thanking me for turning the bag in at the police station. She said the only thing in the bag she was really concerned about was the baby’s medicine. The baby had needed the medicine to help it get well. Once again, I got that warm feeling in my heart… you know… the one you get when you’ve helped make someone’s day a little easier.

I thought I was just making a quick trip to the store that day to buy some yarn, but I ended up being in just the right place at just the right time and was able to help others who just happened to cross my path that day.

The end.

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