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Good Samaritan Sends Strong Message

Pay-it-forward is all she asked in return for a random act of kindness.


There’s nothing worse than that sinking feeling you get when you realize you’re miles from home and there’s no way to get your car to work.

That’s exactly what happened to me yesterday.

After an all-day meeting at International Plaza, I sunk my hand into my purse to find my keys. They were there, all right, but the one key I needed to open the car door and start the ignition had slipped off the ring – along with the remote entry fob.

Just my luck!

I was standing there in front of many of my coworkers as red-faced as I could possibly be. Trying to be upbeat, I smiled and resigned myself to calling my husband in Land O’ Lakes. After all, he could drive down and give me his spare key. (It would just take a while for him to load up the kids and battle rush-hour traffic from home to the South Tampa mall).

On a lark, I walked over to my car to at least put my laptop in the trunk while I had to wait. (That key was still, thankfully, on the ring.) When I did, I noticed a piece of paper placed under the windshield wiper.

It was such a surprise to discover that the paper was a note from a Good Samaritan – not an advertisement like I had expected. Someone had found my key and left it at the valet stand. She even left her number on the note in case I had a problem retrieving the key.

When I called Alison last night to say thanks, she simply said: “Just pay it forward.”

I do believe I will.

I think I’ll start by making a nice donation to the in Alison’s honor. And from here on out, I will keep my eyes open for the “little things” I can do to make someone else’s day just a little bit bright – exactly like Alison did. She not only saved my family the hassle of retrieving me, but she likely spared us from having the car stolen by someone who might not have been as kind if they found a stray ignition key sitting in a parking lot.

Do you have a story about how a small act of kindness made your day brighter? Let us know about it in the comments section.

Sherri Lonon April 26, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story, Sherry!
Keli Sipperley April 26, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Thank you, Sherry. And Sherri. You both made my day :)
Valerie Nolte December 02, 2012 at 09:43 PM
I came home from a week long business trip a couple of months ago, and after landing at Tampa International, I jumped on the parking lot tram. While waiting for my stop, I searched through my purse for the slip of paper that showed where I had parked. I found it, loaded up my luggage, and left the parking garage through the SunPass exit lane. When I got home, I noticed I had a message on my home phone from someone who said they had found my wallet on the parking tram. I didn't even know it was missing! She had gotten on the tram when it circled back to the terminal and saw my wallet on the seat. She took it with her and tried to give it to the parking cashier, but they wouldn't take it. When she got to her home in downtown Tampa, she went online and found my phone # on whitepages.com. When I went to pick it up I tried to give her some money but she refused to take it and told me to pay it forward.
Valerie Nolte December 02, 2012 at 09:44 PM
CONTINUED - I was able to do so a month later when I found a wallet lying on the ground next to my car at a convenience store. I was very nervous about picking it up, but did so and went inside and asked the clerk if anyone had reported losing a wallet, which they hadn't. I wasn't sure what to do, but I handed the wallet over to the clerk and asked him to hold on to it in case someone came by later looking for it. I still felt a little uneasy leaving the wallet, so I just went out and sat in my car for a few minutes. After sitting there for about 10 minutes, I saw a guy drive up and just walk around in circles in the parking lot. I got out of the car and asked him if he was looking for something and he said he had lost his wallet. I asked him to describe it to me and then told him I had found it and given it to the clerk inside. He ran in to got it and came out and tried to give me some money for turning it in. As it turns out, he had just gotten paid and had over $500 in cash in the wallet. I told him the same thing I had been told only a month earlier - to pay it forward.
Sherri Lonon December 02, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Thanks for sharing that, Valerie! I love hearing about people who do the right thing even when it's so easy not to.


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