My computer has been in for repair for the past few weeks and although smart phones and tablets are helpful in accessing sites, it’s very difficult for me to compose without a full size keyboard. Luckily my computer is back and life is much easier now.
We’re currently in southwest Florida. But before I get to our current happenings I want to share with you an interesting experience we had before leaving DC. After Patrick found a job in DC his next challenge was to find a place to live. Apartment hunting is a far cry from what it was nearly half a century ago when Bob and I were first married. But after talking with colleagues, reading listings on Craig’s list as well as other sites, Patrick came across a place in the city that seemed just right. So it was on Saturday May 10 that we packed his belongings in the mini-van and headed from Arlington into the city to help him get settled. Anyone who knows DC knows that Arlington into downtown DC is a relative short distance. But traffic makes it longer than it would be in most places and parking in DC is NEVER easy.
When we arrived at his new abode there was a short approach to a gated parking lot that while not exactly a parking place it would get the car off the street. Bob was to stay with the car in case someone wanted to get into the lot. Pat would lug in the heavy pieces and I’d follow with the collection of bags containing the rest of his belongings. Of course his place has a main locked door and then another lock on his door on the second floor. We trudged in with the first load, not bad. We continued with the second load. And then I noticed that his suitcase (one of the heavier items) was not in the car. When I got upstairs I asked him if he had carried it up. No, he responded, was I sure it wasn’t in the car. We tore down the steps and confirmed his suitcase was gone.
Now I have to add that while I was upstairs his dad and he discovered an actual parking spot about three places from where we had originally parked, so they quickly took the place leaving the suitcase on the sidewalk a few feet behind. In the short time that we had been unloading, the suitcase disappeared. We all started looking around and Patrick saw an older gentleman who had noticed our conundrum. He asked Pat if he were looking for a blue suitcase. Said that he had seen a guy in a white shirt open it and put it on the back of his bicycle and ridden off with it. He motioned to Pat the direction the guy had gone. Patrick immediately asked his dad if he had two twenties he could borrow. With cash in hand, Pat took off. (He sent me a text, saying he had a lead.)
Bob and I waited for about half an hour and finally, Patrick and another man walked by, and acknowledged us as they passed. We waited some more. Then about 10 minutes later, Patrick came back with bright blue suitcase in tow behind. Bob and I were amazed!
It seemed that Patrick had run in the direction that the man had suggested but realized he couldn’t just ask every man on a bike that he met along the way. But when he approached the Safeway, he saw a guy locking up his bike. Patrick asked him if he had found a suitcase. “Yes,” the guy responded, “is it yours?”
Pat said it was and that he would be glad to pay him to get it back. The guy seemed amenable to the idea but he had to do a bit of shopping first. Did Pat want to meet him back at his apartment? No, Pat said he’d shop with him. So they went through the store and by the time they left Patrick knew a lot about the store layout having found the pasta, peanut butter and beer.
They walked back to the man’s apartment (around the corner and down the street from where we had parked) and Patrick said they conversed along the way. When they reached the man’s apartment, Patrick stayed with the bike while the guy ran up to his apartment and got the suitcase. Patrick gave him one of the twenties and thanked him. When he got back to our car, Pat sought out the first gentleman who had given him the details that led him to his suitcase, thanked him and gave him the other twenty.
When the suitcase was first discovered missing, I never believed we’d see it again. It was gone. It’s a big city and there was no sign of it. I learned an important lesson from my son that day. You get a lot further by always treating people with dignity. Patrick was never accusatory. He asked if the man had found a suitcase, not if he had taken his suitcase. I’d like to say I would have responded the same way. But I doubt it. I would have let my frustration and anger take over. And I wouldn’t have had a clue how to begin solving the problem.
As Pat’s older brother later said, “The kid has street cred!”