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How to Become an Angel

When a purse goes missing, it’s found by an angel in just about the nick of time…

Lost and found photo by Mr. Incredible, Thinkstock.

I’d driven all the way home before realizing I didn’t have my purse. I’d left it in the baby seat of the grocery cart I wheeled out to the parking lot. My iPhone, a week’s worth of spending money, my date book full of appointments– how could I have been so absent-minded?

My daughter Evie was with me in the passenger seat, which was highly unusual, and distracting. I mustn’t have checked to be sure I’d gotten everything out of the cart. “I forgot my purse, Evie. We have to go back.” A 15-minute drive. I pulled out of the driveway, immediately sorry I didn’t put Evie out first: “You left your whole purse?”

This wasn’t the first time I chanted the “Please let me find it” prayer. People are good, I told myself at the red light. The huge Lost and Found room at Grand Central Station proved it.

I’d been happily reunited with everything I’d ever left on the commuter trains that run in and out of the city. Even a bag of brand-new Christmas toys anyone could have claimed. But finders didn’t seem to be keepers, as far as I could see.

Evie’s cell phone rang at the next light. Her sister got a call at home. My purse was at customer service in the grocery store, ask for Tia. Halleluiah!

“Did you turn in my purse?” I asked the kid rounding up the carts in the lot. I’d give him a tip. “No,” he said, “I didn’t see it.”

Inside Tia handed me my purse. “A customer rolled it in, left it right there in the cart where he found it.”

“Are people the best, or what?” I said. “Thank you so much.”

Back in the car I pulled out my phone to call home. Date book, wallet… all there. On a lark I opened the wallet. “Evie, all the cash is gone. Every dollar.” Who was to blame?

“Well, Mom, you left it there for anybody…” She was blaming me? “And maybe for somebody who needed it more than you.” I didn’t agree, not completely. But it was a better thought than blaming her, or the cart kid, or the customer, or who knew who, and it didn’t matter.

The world is full of angels on earth, and maybe a little windfall will help someone out there become one.

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