Lost and Found on 42nd Street

The subway stops at 42nd Street and the train clears before its final stop at 57th.

I see a flash drive sitting on a nearby seat and call out to the exiting riders. Nobody claims it.

I’ve returned a lost wallet and had someone do the same for me when mine went missing.
And the Friday before, I had a similar flash drive melt so I was particularly keen to get this one back.

Though I am no spiritual woo woo, I believe in karma. I will always endeavor to return anything of value, even the lost and found prosthetic legs I’ve read about.

I take the flash drive to my desk and pop it in the computer. It’s filled with work files for Oxford University Press publications with 2009 release dates. I find one document that sheds some light: “Files for Myra.”

I call the receptionist and am transferred to Myra’s line. I leave a message.

She calls back minutes later. (One way to get your call returned promptly.)

I read her a list of the files on the flash drive. She says they’re important and that she will track down the owner. I give her my number.

I guy named Matt calls back 20 minutes later to claim it. “That’s odd,” he says, about as appreciative as someone who gets puddle-soaked by a passing car.

Would it have been less odd had I used it as a fishing lure?

He says he’ll send over a messenger.

I don’t want a reward, I’m not looking for recognition; I’m just doing a good deed (for once) and it would be nice to feel like I’m saving someone’s day.

A messenger calls my phone an hour later; English is not his first language. I take the elevator to the lobby to meet him. He’s not there. I head back upstairs five minutes poorer.

The messenger arrives an hour later and again I make the trip downstairs, this time for the handoff.

I never meet Matt and I never get a follow-up phone call saying thanks. The whole incident leaves me feeling like a nice guy. I want to fade back into anonymous New York and pretend I don’t hear Kitty Genovese.

To the people in my office though, I’m all right.

I’m done doing detective work for a while, but if you need help crossing the street, calling me a fine young man is reward enough.


Kitty Genovese link:

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