Most Midwesterners have roots and extended family and friends nearby, which make us accountable. When we mess up or hurt someone, we quickly see the repercussions because our “twelve degrees of separation” in the Midwest are typically much less than that. That person whom we hurt knows someone else close to us and they are going to hear what we did.

It also works the other way around. We love stories of good Samaritans and average people doing extraordinary, yet simple things to assist someone else. One such event occurred in the middle of last month’s holiday bustle.

My nephew lost a $25 check from me in Chicago’s Union Station. He frantically called and asked if I should cancel it. The cancellation fee is $25, so I told him it would be futile to do so.

Fifteen minutes later I received another call from a young man saying he found the check. He asked if he should mail it back to me or destroy it. I thanked him for his thoughtfulness and prayed God would bless him for his goodness. He said he only did what he hoped someone else would do for him.

Union Station is a commuter/Amtrak train station abuzz with more than 54,000 passengers every day. People from all walks of life are in and out of the shops and restaurants between commutes. With so much traffic, it was very likely the check would be found, and possibly cashed, or at least attempted to be.

At best, most people would have tossed the check in the trash. Fortunately, an honest person found it and responded with a caring heart. That man went beyond the average person’s response. He took the extra step of calling, and as a result, he quickly put my nephew and me at ease.

Sometimes it often doesn’t take much to solve a potentially troubling issue for someone. The smallest steps can make all the difference.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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