LETTER: Small acts of kindness give us hope

WE live in such a tumultuous and unforgiving world these days that small acts of kindness are subsumed in the cauldron of getting ahead and not giving a sucker an even break.

Michelle, from near Nimbin isn't like that, as the other day she was walking down Carrington Street in Lismore at the back of Woolworths and there, on the footpath, was an empty shopping trolley, save for a tan wallet, left there by an inattentive shopper after loading his groceries into his car and driving off, none the wiser, until after filling the vehicle with fuel some ten minutes later and needing to pay at the service station.

After realizing the loss - the fuel paid for by a passenger - the driver hastily returned to Carrington Street but alas, an extensive search and advice to the shopping centre management failed to unearth the missing wallet.

It was mine, and it contained all of my credit cards, driver's licence, travel cards, passport, numerous other important items and some cash.

It also had my Chinese Bank of China passbook and bankcard, which I would not be able to replace easily.

I have returned to Australia with my wife and young daughter last year, after spending thirteen years teaching in China and we have purchased a little cottage in the Northern Rivers District.

My wife, who was born in Southern China, has had some anxious moments in attempting to deal with the massive culture shocks associated with our move but she is really enjoying her English classes and my daughter loves her pre/play school days.

Of all the welcoming gestures and friendly interactions, these were surpassed when she read the email that Michelle sent to me the day after my wallet was lost.

It requested I call her to arrange a suitable pick-up time and place.

That same day I met Michelle's partner, Ian, who would not hear of any reward or even some flowers for his wife.

He merely stated that the pleasure was in finding the right owner and returning it to them.

Coming from a big city like Melbourne, and living in a large metropolis in the Middle Kingdom for so long, I put the possibility of getting my wallet back intact at near zero.

It is these simple manifestations of The Golden Rule that renew one's faith in humanity and make, particularly rural communities such great places to live and breathe.

Thank you, Michelle and Ian.

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