When I landed in Paris several years ago, I made the mistake of leaving my flute in the cab I took to a hostel near Montmartre. Mince! Merde! What a jet-lagged dummy. One month later my parents in Sierra Madre receive a letter from the Service des Objets Trouvés (Service of Found Objects, or Lost&Found) of the Parisian Police saying they had recovered my flute. Holy hell was I lucky! I trekked through a new area of the city, waited in line for 20 minutes, and hopped away with my flute. I always bring it up when I hear stories of people losing passports and the like when they travel.
Saturday I was hiking my favorite trail to Mt. Hollywood. The entrance by the Greek Theatre leads a steep mountainous incline, until you reach the running trails that lead you to the top. There you can stretch and see the incredible panorama view of all of Los Angeles.
As I was turning the final corner before reaching the top, a group of men passed the trail on horses, on their way back to Burbank. “This is odd,” I thought, “Where is the regular guide guy with the cowboy hat? And why is it just guys?” I spied a black leather case which contained a Blackberry. I considered for a moment if I was actually going to reach down to pick it up, and enter into the contract of giving the cellphone back to its owner. (It seems to happen to me once a year.) I couldn’t unlock the phone, and I saw the Arabic letters on the keypad. I was kind of stupefied, kept trying to unlock it. Some passing guy saw me pick it up (I had a witness!). I feel like we had a real quick mental exchange of “Are you gonna do it? ” “Yeah, yeah, I’ve gotta go!” and then I turned around and launched downhill.
I had dreamed about running as a part of my hike, and here was my chance, fueled by a mission. It actually wasn’t too bad. The horses kept going farther downhill, disappearing from my sight. About one minute in I was interrupted by a Chinese man with a hiking stick, sunglasses, fanny pack–the whole shebang–shouting in warning, something about parking on that side after 7:30. “Thanks, dude?” I kept following the trail of horse shit, running probably a 1/3 mile down the hill, when I reached the group and handed off the phone. “Ahh! Thank you, Miss. Thank you.” I heard some gleeful exclamation in Arabic from the man four horses up in the group.
Who knows how much of a bummer it would have been for that guy to lose his phone on his vacation? Cell phones are easily replaceable, but I know that for many our iPhones and Droids are extensions of ourselves. The moment felt a little cosmic and cheesy, full of karma. It’s nice to believe in human kindnesses, because I hope someone would do that for me.