On the day after Pittsburgh, on the day after 11 of our sisters and brothers were murdered in shul because they were there and they were Jewish, on that very day, we arrived in Seattle. Like you, we were depressed and shocked and moved to tears. America has always seemed to be a sanctuary for Jews. There had seemed always to be an implicit promise that “it could never happen here.” We all knew what “it” is and we felt safe in this place. At least as safe as anyone else. We might be vulnerable because we lived in a land of guns but they were not seeking us out because we are Jews. Americans maybe. Jews no.
We were in Seattle for the nicest reason: To visit our grandson who had moved there recently. And so we had arrived, still shaking from the news of Squirrel Hill, still mourning the horrific tragedy, but still looking forward to being with our grandson Yoni, a humane and loving person who is also a committed and serious Jew. And we had brought a gift for the young man which we had, we thought, safely stowed away in a piece of hand luggage.
The special piece of hand luggage was merely a shopping bag which contained the urgent items that we travel with, those items which we never check and which are imperative to have with us always. They included my husband’s medication, various plugs for our electronic devices and a few other essentials and, of course, Yoni’s gift. The medication was of the utmost urgency.
Once before we had an issue with my husband’s medication. We were in Warsaw on the infamous day known as 9/11. It was the day we were scheduled to fly home, back to New Jersey and we were already at the airport when the horrors in New York became part of world history. It quickly became clear that we would not be flying out of Poland anytime soon. In fact it took over a week before we were able to do so. And my husband, an organized engineer, always, had packed enough medication for the duration of our intended visit. The extra time was not factored in. He did not have enough medication for the delay. That was, in the midst of a world nightmare, when kindness set in. We went into a drugstore and explained the situation. The pharmacist told us that he would waive the need for a prescription or the complications of trying to reach doctors back in the States, at a time when phone communications were very challenging. He would provide my husband with his meds. We swooned with relief and pledged never to make such a mistake again.
And then we were in Seattle. We were already in our rental car, heading for Yoni’s apartment, when we asked each other, almost simultaneously, where the bag was. We both recalled putting our luggage into the trunk, along with our jackets. Neither recalled seeing the bag. We quickly pulled off the road and checked. The bag was not there.
And so we found ourselves in a Walgreens, attempting to get the needed medication. It turned out that we needed a renewal of the prescription. Our mail order delivery had just arrived home and it was the last one before a new prescription had to be written. Back and forth, attempting to reach the doctor who was in surgery. Lots and lots of frustration. Aggravation. Worrying.
In the interim we had made what we thought was a useless call to Seatac Airport Lost and Found. Who ever expects an item to actually be returned to the lost and found department of a huge international airport! Certainly not me!
And so there we were spending hours at Walgreens. Not much of a getaway. We even thought about catching the next plane back to New Jersey and canceling our visit.
And then we learned that there really are still good people in this world! The airport lost and found actually phoned us. They had the bag! It had been turned in.
We dashed to the airport. The bag was intact. The wrapped gift for Yoni was still there. As was everything else. Especially the medication. Even the two bagel sandwiches. Everything. Someone had taken the time and trouble to bring it to lost and found. Someone who proved that there are still acts of kindness on this earth we share. Perhaps that someone was you. If so, thank you.