Service of Luck III

October 8th, 2015

Categories: Luck, Retail, Transportation

I barely caught the Third Avenue express bus back to my office after a visit to Trader Joe yesterday. A wheelchair passenger had just settled and the original line of passengers had dwindled to two. While gathering my packages in one hand to free the other to hold my MetroCard while running, I saw a gray leather or plastic tote leaning against the bus shelter. I asked the driver to alert the passengers over the loudspeaker.  Instead he closed the door, shrugged, mumbled something and drove on. I hope its owner meant to leave the portfolio there for someone else to use. I will never know.

The lost tote resonated with me.

Returning home from work one night recently I was loaded down and stopped by Food Emporium on Second Avenue and 51st Street to pick up one last item—a mistake. At the checkout counter I put down my load to fish out my wallet. I was almost home when I realized that although encumbered more than usual, something was missing: I’d left my laptop at the grocery store, tucked in the space to fill shopping bags.

As fast as I could walk—I was closer to home than to 51st Street–I dropped off my bags with the doorman. My husband immediately alerted the store [as soon as my hands and arms were free I called and asked him to do this], as I ran to the store. I entered the checkout line and a young man said, “Here she is!” [Was my hair standing on end? Was the anxious look on my face so obvious?] Sheryl the cashier held up my laptop as a football player might having made a touchdown, enjoying the reunion–I hugged the computer in its black cover as I thanked her profusely. I was SO LUCKY.

When I returned to the apartment the doorman told me he’d forgotten a shopping bag full of wine he’d put on the ground to free his hands to use an ATM machine. The bag was gone when he returned for it.

Have you enjoyed some luck lately? Has someone returned a lost item to you or like the doorman and maybe the owner of the tote at the bus stop, did a moment’s forgetfulness have unhappy results?

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15 Responses to “Service of Luck III”

  1. ASK Said:

    My expensive prescription sunglasses were returned to the Lost & Found drawer at Whole Foods customer service by the head of the cheese department. I left them behind when I picked up an order. I went back to the store 2 days later…just hoping. Glasses smelled a bit, but that was fixed with soap and water.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Grocery store staffers, while paid poorly for the most part, whose jobs are physically grueling, seem to be an honest bunch! Hooray for them!

  3. Donna Boyle Schwartz Said:

    Donna wrote on Facebook: Mixed bag: years ago, when we first moved to Newburgh, I left my wallet filled with all the money we had to our name in a grocery cart. Got to the car, and freaked out! Ran back in, and a couple of people were at the customer service desk, handing it in. They refused to take ANYTHING as a reward. Fast forward to a few years ago, when I checked my coat at a local restaurant. Went to leave, and my coat was gone. Coat was returned a few days later, missing the zip-on hood and my cashmere-lined leather gloves…but at least I got the coat back!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    What a RELIEF about the cash. Grrr to the person who stole your gloves and hood. Years ago we celebrated a birthday at one of NYC’s well known steak houses. I got my coat back but the coat-check person stole my magnificent wool scarf. It coordinated with my dress. The place is steps from my office and I pass by daily to and from work. I wouldn’t return under any circumstances.

  5. Donna Boyle Schwartz Said:

    Donna wrote on Facebook: You just never know how things are going to play out…

  6. Martha Takayama Said:

    Your post leaves the reader both heartened and wistful. Although I am extremely absent-minded, I do have some positive episodes of items returned to share. The most recent was my wallet which was returned to me by Lord and Taylor in Boston. I found on a Sat morning when I went to look for it that it was missing. I was in my office building so I checked with our security guards who are like Secret Service in the good old days and our mail delivery person and they suggested I check the last place I had been the day before. I remembered that it was Lord and Taylor, and frantically called the Lost and Found which assured that it was waiting for me in the Manager’s Office. I retrieved it in person and remain extremely grateful to the lovely salesperson and the store management.

    On another occasion the Head of Security in our office building stopped me to say he had found a scarf that looked like it would be mine. It was indeed a special present from my mother and I am once again grateful. I actually had not realized that I had lost it!

    The most amazing anecdote is that of a taxi ride to a restaurant in Boston with Brazilian friends, one of whom always is at least slightly inebriated. Not long after sitting down to eat in a restaurant she remembered that she had left a small travel bag with $4,000 U.S cash in the taxi. After contacting the cab company the driver brought it back.

    Although I prefer not to recall the many things I have left behind that remained, I do have a very fresh example. I purchased 2 items–whisky and a face cream–in a duty free shop about three weeks ago. Somewhere between leaving the store and going through customs I forgot them. No one traced my card or ran after me to return them. I could not fault anyone, but just lamented my absent-mindedness once again.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Kudos to Lord & Taylor but why in the Sam Hill didn’t someone from Lost and Found call you or try to contact you? Perhaps it is their policy not to open a lost wallet.

    When travelling, it is so easy to misplace or leave things behind. It’s such a stressful exercise these days. That another passenger didn’t notice your leaving without your package–or the duty free staffer had you left it at the cashier–makes me sad. The other day I saw a cashier at D’Agostino, a grocery store, race after a customer who left without her receipt!

    Your office security crew must be amazing and remarkably observant and your scarves must be spectacular for security to connect you with a lost one. As for the taxi driver who returned $4,000…I am breathless and impressed. Hooray for Boston!

  8. hb Said:

    I am old and doddering and, I suspect, fairly typical. I usually look like I’m about to fall, and do lose things. On the whole the past few years, I’ve mostly been the beneficiary of, I wouldn’t call it luck rather, kindness — People wanting to help me cross the street, running after me with forgotten packages et cetera.

    Most recently it was rush hour and, lumbered with a suitcase, I was trying unsuccessfully to get a taxi when a well dressed, prosperous looking young man, who was very obviously “entitled,” stepped out in front of me. I thought, “Uh-oh, I’ll never get one now.”

    He must have read my mind. He turned to me and said, “Don’t worry. I don’t need a cab, but I’ll get you one.” And he did within moments.

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Is that a “YEA!” for NYC? I’m so glad to read this story. When I had a broken foot, encumbered with one of those big blue boots and at first, a cane as well, people ran in front of me in the rain to grab any and all taxis. I learned to forget the hunt and to head for a bus stop. The boot got equally wet and at least I got home.

  10. Deirdre Wyeth Said:

    Deirdre wrote on Facebook: Last year I grabbed a cab to a lunch meeting, and there was a cellphone on the back seat. As I was handing it to the driver for safekeeping, it rang. I thought it might be the owner, but it was someone who was calling him from London. I explained the problem, and he called the phone owner’s office, and the owner sent someone from the office to pick up the phone at the restaurant where I was eating. It all went so smoothly!

  11. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I hope the phone owner paid for dessert! Love this story.

  12. Deirdre Wyeth Said:

    Deirdre on Facebook: I admit I thought he’d pick up dessert — but no.

  13. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Gosh Deirdre,

    Eons ago I found the wallet of a member of a NY-based ballet troupe. He left a bouquet of flowers for me at my [then] office reception desk where he went to pick it up & I could tell from a bank receipt that he wasn’t getting calls from London and had little to spare.

  14. Lucrezia Said:

    I have been lucky in the past, as most lost items have been returned and/or restored. Am presently forcing myself to focus and pay attention in hopes of not losing valuables and/or bridge games. Distraction is a lifelong characteristic, so this presents a challenge.

    In celebration of the rescued laptop, how about treating the poor doorman to a good bottle of wine? It should make everyone feel even better!

  15. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Great idea re. doorman. I’ve been carrying around a card with a bit of thank you inside for Sheryl, the life-saving cashier at Food Emporium, and when I’ve popped in the store, she’s not been working. Yesterday her co-workers said that she was popular–I was the second person looking for her. She must do good deeds daily! Next, the doorman.

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