….What goes around comes around. I’m not inclined to bore you with the parameters and facets of Karma. I’d rather actualize its existence by a story, a story that happened to me….
Ever since I was on the eastern horizon of my teenage, my friends and I earnestly felt that if we walked down enough obscure and back alley paths, we’d come across a hidden briefcase full of cash. So our Doc Martens scoured the suburban landscape, searching for a reward as we filled our empty minutes with laughter and travel, in search of ourselves and the briefcase full of cash.
But I digress, my story is meant to illustrate Karma, not nostalgia. So, as I ride, my eyes scan the asphalt looking for hazards, bumps, and other peoples’ dropped valuables. In my travels, some items I’ve found include; a watch that still tells accurate time (11 yrs), a Louis Vutton Wallet (used 9yrs), countless photographs, drafting furniture (had to go get the car for that one), and one turquoise Jessica Simpson oversized wallet. It caught my eye on Route 66, during my daily. It flashed into my view, “make-up bag, rather new” was my initial assessment. “Might be full of cash” was my second, I stopped, made the u turn, deftly picked it up, resumed my previous course and rode a block. I took a quick glance around, assessed witnesses (none) and proceeded to discover my Turquoise Jessica Simpson Make up bag. Yes, in a minute’s time, it had become “mine”, finders keepers.
Firstly, it was a wallet. Second, it did have cash!! Pesos rather than Dollars, but what the hell, it was cash. There was also a prayer card, international phone cards, a credit card, an authorized border crossing card, a card from the Secretary of Mexico indicating that the previous owner of the wallet, Gabriella was authorized to perform secretarial work, and a Mexican drivers license (from Sonora). There was another card indicating her right to be here but that she was not eligible for work. It doesn’t matter, as these documents are not easy to come by and would require much hardship if not returned to Gabriella, the wallet and its contents were no longer mine. So there in a parking lot, hidden by a wall I delved into her wallet, her two dimensional self. I searched for a phone number, and also to be honest, I’m a stubbornly curious fellow. Her picture in some of the IDs showed a young woman who was rather easy on the eyes.
The only phone numbers in the wallet were on business cards from Mexico (I’m not calling Mexico, my Spanish ain’t that good) and the phone number on the credit card! I’ll start there. I spoke with Ed at customer service, indicated that I found a credit card. Ed did his thing in the computer, then informed me that I could destroy the card. I interjected, “Well there’s more, I have her entire wallet, she may need it. Can I give you my name and number to forward to her?” Customer service is as customer service does.
I rode home and about three hours later, I receive a call from the 626 area code. She sounded young, smart, concerned. When I told her I had her wallet she screeched joy and relief. It had an affect. We arranged a fair meeting spot, and I left. I arrived early, parked toward the rear of the parking lot, facing its mass. A Prius drove up, of all the spots to park it parked directly in front of me. The passenger got on the phone. My phone rang. We looked at each other, smiled a bit and got out of our cars. Apparently, she found it necessary to bring her boyfriend, Robert. He offered me a verbal thank you and a very limp handshake. They asked where I found it, which I answered honestly. They determined it dropped out of her lap when she dropped him off at work. I handed over the wallet (it wasn’t my color anyway), and Robert again offered a verbal thank you. This time he passed on the limp handshake, instead his hand held a folded bill or bills within.
“Can we give something for your trouble?”
I put up my hands, “No, no, that’s not necessary”.
“Are you sure?” his hand raised higher.
As much as a cash reward would be reward for what I returned, my hands went higher, “No really” I explained “Sometime I’m gonna drop something somewhere, and someone will call me to return it. Besides, the sound of her relief over the phone was reward enough”. And that was true, when I heard her relief over the phone, it placed a smile in my soul and for once, the voice in my head announced “You’ done good”. They said thank you again, Gabriella said if she ever found a wallet she would do the same thing, and we parted.
The next day, I went to a bike shop I frequent. Earlier in the season I was erroneously shipped three boxes of bike lubricant and a bike cleaning compound. They had been subletting in my bike locker, taking up much needed space in a narrow triangle. The product was sent to me in support of the Cycle Messenger World Championships. Problem was, I have nothing to do with the CMWC, and I’m not willing to pay the shipping to return them back to the East Coast. So my contact at the bike shop knows this product can go to Seattle in support of the NACC, and he’s willing to ship it. That’s a load out of my bike locker, literally.
Here’s the Karma part, thank you for waiting. For my efforts of storing and delivering the three boxes, the bike shop rewards me with two free new Gator Skin tires! I really needed new tires. And if you ride like I do, when you need new tires, you need new tires. I was intending on purchasing them when I delivered the product, but Karma surprised me instead. In my mind, in an instant, I was aware that Karma had come around, my good deed would was published.
But I wonder, if I had taken Robert’s folded cash reward, would Karma still deliver the free tires? Is this coincidence something that we call Karma, only to accessorize our droll existence with meaningful spirituality? Was the cash reward greater than the cash value of the tires? Was the act of returning the wallet enough to warrant me free tires? Either way I rub it, Karma was in effect and I knew I did the right thing by making that phone call to Ed the customer service rep at Citicard.
As cyclists, we have the unique opportunity to scavenge what others have lost along the road. As humans, we have the choice to put the wheels of Karma into motion. Keep what we can, return what we must.
Be safe, have fun.