One for the Good Guys

By: Contribute Last Updated: January 20, 2010

The day began with helping to prepare for a surprise birthday party for Virginia Phillips. The party went off very well, she was completely surprised! It was a good time with a lot of wonderful people. Among the sentiments shared, was a memory of someone’s first visit to a White Castle, and her warm recall of how Virginia made those drive-up window “sliders” into a wonderful parking lot picnic……

From there I went home to get ready for the Chamber of Commerce Salute to Leadership at Strongbow’s where we (Marc t. Nielsen Interiors) were receiving a Half Century Award. It’s a black tie event, and I decided to wear heels, despite the constant reminders from my feet that this is not a good idea. I was meeting our newest employee Susan Turek (tall Susan!) there, and thought it would be fun to be a little taller! It was fun! After mingling around the crowd for awhile, we were asked to take our seats. Dinner was served, and my right foot was getting progressively more painful. Just before dessert, I went out to my car to change boots—I had come prepared with my trusty cowboy boots in reserve. I didn’t want to fall over in agony as I walked up to get our award. My cowboy boots felt like heaven on my feet. I walked up, essentially pain free to get the award. What a great evening. The presenters were all great, some were very, very funny. More time spent with a lot of wonderful people.

It came time to leave, probably about 9:30. I walked out to my car, got in, and looked in disbelief at the shattered passenger side window laying on top of my “tall” boots on the car seat. There is that split second while you process that information, and then I looked to the floor where I had tucked my purse (it had been under my cowboy boots), to the unpleasant realization that it was gone. My heart sunk. How quickly one’s state of emotion can change. I walked back in to call the police. Waited for awhile, with the warm concern of the other guests still in the lobby, and was able to borrow Bill Oeding’s cell phone to call my friend and lawyer, Fred Grady, to see if he could come. Officer Robert Fisher of the Valparaiso City Police department arrived and began making his report. I often respond to unpleasant situations with humor—pretty lame humor sometimes, so I appreciate Officer Fisher’s tolerance of that. Fred arrived shortly after Officer Fisher. As I am learning what I need to do next, I hear my cell phone ringing. I had thought it was in my purse and long gone, but, in fact, it is under the shattered glass on the passenger seat! I am greeted by an officer of the Hobart Police Department asking if I am missing a license and some credit cards. I told him “Yes! I am missing a whole purse!” He said someone was trying to use my credit card at Southlake Mall, and he would call me right back. I am thinking some store clerk is really on their toes! THANK YOU!

Fred, Officer Fisher, and I go inside Strongbow’s to wait while we finish our conversations. I asked how they might have known my cell phone number, and nobody seemed to know, but I was glad they did. It isn’t long before we hear back from the Hobart Police Department, and learn they have two men in custody, and will see if they can find the rest of my belongings. My jaw drops, quickly turning into a huge smile! Can you believe this! The Valpo and Hobart officers speak with each other on the phone, and then there isn’t much more we can do there. Fred offered some plastic he had at home to try to seal up my window. The temperature has dropped and it is cold! So we go to Fred’s home to clean up the broken glass and begin to try to cover the window opening. It is harder than I thought. The metal door is cold and slightly damp, so it is hard to get the tape to stick. Fortunately, Fred had several kinds of tape. The third tape did the trick, though we figured it wouldn’t hold against much force, so I would just have to drive slowly.

We went back inside to warm up and have a glass of wine. Fred was so considerate to go through all this with me—it is now about 11:30 at night. My cell phone rings again. It’s Officer Gresser From the Hobart Police Department. They were not able to find my purse yet. But he said I could come and get my license and credit cards if I wanted. I was getting tired, and decided I’d rather go tomorrow. Soon, I drive home, slowly, and Fred finally gets to take his dog Cally for a walk.

When I get inside, my answering machine is flashing. I assumed it would be the police, thinking they would have found my home number before my cell number. But as it began to play back, I was surprised to hear it was one of the employees at the White Castle (remember the first paragraph! Is that cosmic?!) on Highway 30 in Valpo, saying they had found my purse in back of their store! BIG smile! Even though it is now almost 1:00 a.m., I jump in my car and drive, oh so slowly, to the White Castle. I met two terrific women there, who after a pleasant brief quiz about the purse, handed me my purse. It seemed that pretty much everything, short of what the Hobart Police had, was there. What a relief! I had no money to offer these kind women who made the effort to look me up in the phone book and call me, but I am sure they have scored a few Heaven points!

I left there and headed home. I had decided that 30 miles/hour was safe for my new plastic window, so that’s how fast I was driving on Highway 30. Right away I passed two police cars on the side of the road. One turned around and went the other way, the other was now behind me. He didn’t pass me, and I knew he was probably wondering why I was going so slow. But I didn’t want to risk damaging my plastic window. He followed me to just past Strongbow’s (the scene of the crime!) where he turned his lights on. So I pulled over. After several minutes, and being studied with a spotlight, an officer approached asking for my license and registration. I began telling him what happened, and he asked if Officer Fisher had made the report. He was already aware of my situation, wished me well and sent me on my way. I think he enjoyed hearing how the story had progressed since the initial report.

It was 2:30 before I finally laid my head on my pillow.

Sunday morning I sleep in. I have breakfast. Had a couple phone calls, and didn’t realize how long it had taken me to tell the story. So long that I missed church, but I had already thanked God several times for all the wonderful people I crossed paths with Saturday and very early Sunday morning. The dark cloud brought on by those two thieves, was more than blasted away by all the people with positive energy to share.

The story isn’t over yet, but it is already soooo much better than it might have been thanks to the actions of a few people… strangers to me, at that. What goes around comes around, and I pray that when they get their positive karma blasts, that they are awesome!