I set aside this to remember a man with old school values. I’ve never met him but I am eternally grateful to him.
On 20th January 2009, I lost my purse. It was crammed with lots of essential items: credit cards, debit cards, driver’s licence and my Oystercard. There was also more than £150 in cash which I’d withdrawn for late Christmas and birthday gifts for my many nephews and nieces. What a palaver! I cancelled everything, replaced my lost cards and documents and tried to move on while still beating myself up for being so careless.
About two weeks later, I got a letter from Islington Police station to say my purse had been handed in. I described what had been in it and they said it was all there – including all the cash down to the last penny.
When I went to the police station to collect my purse I asked after the person who’d handed it in. They gave me a note they had with his name and number on it. I texted him to say thank you and I offered him a reward. He welcomed my gratitude but declined my offer. It was the right thing to do and a reward was unnecessary. That’s the way I was brought up, he said.
Eight years later, the note remains on my fridge. A constant reminder that there are some very good people out there.
When it comes to the inauguration of USA presidents, I think of Mr Finocane – first name unknown. A wonderful, old-fashioned act of kindness. Old school.