If you visited Paris in 1999 you could have counted yourself among the 83 million tourists who visited that year, and experienced the splendor of its elegant architecture, history and art.
While you dined at the many outdoor cafes, you may have been fortunate enough to find, laying on a table or on the floor – an octagonal-shaped Seiko ladies watch, which was inadvertently dropped by its owner. Chances are, after checking around with those nearby, you decided that since it was a lost item and there was only a slight probability that its owner would return to claim it. You may then have been tempted to say nothing about the item, because acquiring it yourself as a memento of your visit would be a good idea. But because of its unique shape and the fact that it looked fairly new at that time, you thought it best to do the honorable thing and turn it over to its rightful owner.
Flashback to the following day, when I happened to be visiting in Paris – one of the thousands who come each day to satisfy a once in a lifetime dream of seeing the Eiffel Tower. Suddenly, the voice of a gentleman riding a scooter, calls out to get my attention as I leave the Eiffel Tower and head to a restaurant for dinner.
“Madame,” he shouts excitedly ” you left your watch at the restaurant where you dined last night.” Turning to acknowledge him, I can recall our friendly greeting the previous night and stop for a chat. This warm French gentleman goes on to remind myself and my partner of the location and name of the cafe where we met the night before. Phone numbers are exchanged with the intent of getting together again and we make our way back to the cafe where we were the night before.
It was a relief to find the watch, which I had missed earlier in the day, but just assumed that I had temporarily misplaced in the hotel room. Our acquaintance was never heard from again, although we made several attempts to find and reward him.
That watch meant as much to me then as it does to this day. Not only was it a reward earned for superior job performance, but the significance of finding it after having misplaced it in a city as vast as Paris is a stark phenomenon to me. The coincidence of having a stranger find me among so many tourists in such a dynamic city speaks to the higher order of life and the good karma that I felt in wonderful Paris and the good nature of people. Not only should it be called the City of Light. Perhaps it should be the City of Good People.