Less than a year ago, I left my phone in the back seat of a Buenos Aires taxi.
After having spent a week at the spectacular Iguazu Falls on the border of Argentina and Brazil, my flight arrived at the domestic airport, Aeroparque in Buenos Aires. I needed to spend the night in a hotel near Aeropuerto Ezeiza, the international port for an early flight back to the States the next morning. This requires about an hour’s worth of drive time between the two sprawling facilities.
When I checked into the hotel and realized what had happened, I beat myself up for about a half a minute, shrugged, and wrote the thing off. In a busy, chaotic city of thirteen million strangers, any effort to locate the phone and have it returned would be futile.
Therefore, I was shocked when the driver returned a half an hour later with a smile and outreached hand with my phone its palm. He spoke no English and I would give my Spanish a charitable grade of serviceable at best. No matter. I gave him a sheepish, awkward hug and $60 US for his trouble.
The same sort of thing has happened in Reykjavik (a lost and returned credit card) and during my most recent trip to Barbados, when my phone, again, was lost and recovered in the Miami airport. Aside from my sometimes-careless nature and absentmindedness, these examples illustrate the very best of human nature – and not from established friends, mind you, but total strangers.
I dedicate this image, from my recent trip to Barbados, to these selfless folks. Dozens of wrong turns on unmarked or sometimes unnamed roads, aimless backtracking, and just being flat out lost were everyday occurrences. My reliance on storekeepers – and others – who cheerfully offered directions and a cool drink cannot be overstated or exaggerated. This image, as well as the others, could not be possible without their kindness.