So I dropped my son Spencer off at a laser tag birthday party recently. I was a little annoyed that I couldn’t stay and play. I spoke to the birthday boy Dad and made sure that I’m on the list for next year’s big day. This is very good news. It’s not often you get to shoot other people with very few consequences. Any time I can absolve myself of responsibility I take it.

I had some things to do that really couldn’t wait and so I drove to the local coffee shop and stopped at a drive thru ATM to deposit a cheque. I ended up behind some yahoo in a van that was slower than molasses running in the winter. (I don’t like it when others waste my time – yes I have a bit of an issue here.) It appeared as I watched that this was a Mom who wasn’t quite able to handle the stress and responsibilities of her day. Clearly her hands were full in every way. I was starting to get a little worked up, but quickly came to my senses as I realized this lady was flustered. This simple ATM chore was a big deal for this woman and her three kids and cargo in the van. Maybe they were heading to McDonald’s for lunch.

As she drove away I could hear a beeping noise that sounded a lot like the alarm when a truck starts to back up. I thought she should get that looked at while she left the drive thru.

I pulled up to the machine to deposit my cash and the beep got louder. I still didn’t make the connection. Maybe I was little flustered as well. The ATM was shouting at this young Mom while she drove away. She’d left her 40 bucks and receipt in the machine. Jackpot. Finding other people’s money is always fun. Dinner tonight paid for by someone that I had never met. Perfect.

I didn’t keep the cash. I took it back into the bank branch and secretly hoped for some kind of reward. Nothing. They didn’t even seem that impressed with‎ the quality of my moral fibre – indeed. Okay so that’s overstating. They were very thankful, just no big deal.

Without a doubt it was the right thing to do. The banker said she’d track the woman down and get her the withdrawal back. 40 bucks. I mean who really cares. What stuck with me about the whole affair though was her bank book balance on the abandoned – $225.33‎. Not a lot of money. Made me wonder about family debt, cash flow for couples and the middle class.

Later that night I watched the new documentary Inequality for All. Timing is everything. It’s a troubling story about how things are getting worse for the middle class. How in fact it may actually be disappearing.

We’re all trying to make ends meet – some more than others without a doubt. For me this was a good reminder of being friendly, giving back, how we can easily lose track of what’s right in front of us and why it makes sense, more often than not, to look out for each other.


July 2014