The kindness of strangers

November 10, 2003

I lost my wallet, once. I left it in the stall of the girls’ bathroom on the 3rd floor of the Humanities building, and I didn’t realize it until two classes later. By the time I ran back to the bathroom, it was gone. I was petrified.

Not only did the wallet contain all my credit cards and identification, but it also carried $200, which is $180 more than I ever had in my possession at one time. I’d slipped two crisp $100 bills in the back compartment, intending to deposit them later that afternoon for my mom. How was I going to explain to her that I’d carelessly lost her money?

Before I mustered up the courage to do so, I got a phone call.

“Is Christine Castro in?”
“This is she,” I said.
“I have your wallet.”
“Oh my gosh, you do?”

We planned to meet the next day.

When we met, I thanked her over and over again. I felt so elated I was practically spastic, but she just sounded blase.

“Can I buy you a cup of coffee at least?” I asked.
“Nah,” she smiled, “I’ve gotta get to my next class.” Then, she was gone.

I took a peek into the secret slot and the $200 was there, folded in half, just as I’d left it. I couldn’t believe it.

I have felt that same disbelief several times in the past few days because of people’s kindness. Free slices of cheesecake from the owner of a favorite deli, web help from an old web acquaintance, understanding and compassion from a client. People who are nice for no reason except to be nice.

It’s so easy to think that everything is a tragedy and everyone is a villain, but god, sometimes moments feel triumphant and regular people seem like heroes.


  • I'm Christine, and this is a slice of my life—a sweet, rich, wildly indulgent slice that would taste really good with a scoop of Breyers vanilla bean ice cream. Read more >>

  • I run a darling, friendly, little graphic design studio.
    I look on the bright side.
    I take photos. Lots of photos.
    I wish on stars and on websites.

  • I built my first web site 7 years ago and got 15 seconds of fame. (It changed my life.)
    I launched, then relaunched, an online magazine.
    I admitted to several embarrassing crushes.
    I consumed more bacon than any human should and lived to tell the tales.

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