Fast Company

Miracle Near 42nd Street

I don't know about you, but I don't think the holiday season would be complete without at least one story that confirms your faith in folks. I spotted a terrific one in the New York Times:

A real estate developer from California leaves his wallet in a New York City cab while in town on business. Realizing this moments later, he searches a sea of yellow cabs in vain. Fortunately, an investment executive from Manhattan hops in the cab next, discovers the wallet and arranges to return it. Later that day, the men meet at Grand Central. The developer, eager to show his gratitude, offers a reward, tickets to the show Emeril Live. Instead, the executive suggests, how about a little donation to his favorite charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City? The out-of-town developer says he will.

This is where the cynic in all of us sniffs, "Yeah, right. That'll happen."

But it turns out that John Scardino, the developer, is a passionate supporter of children's charities himself, including a Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter in California. He winds up writing a check for $10,000 to the New York chapter. And he promises to give the same amount for the next three years.

Think about that. A simple act of good will leads to a 10-minute meeting between strangers and ultimately $40,000 going to an organization that helps kids. Pretty amazing. No matter how much you read about corporate greed, corruption, and unethical shenanigans these days, it's worth remembering the good that people are capable of as well and relishing the unexpected consequences of doing the right thing.

As Chuck Posternak, the fellow who returned the wallet, says, "I don't believe it is just accidental that two men who are so passionate about children's causes meet because of a lost wallet. There is a miracle in here, even if it's a small one."

For other tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, don't miss our annual Social Capitalist Awards in the January issue.

Happy holidays to one and all.

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