Last weekend I enjoyed a weekend with my family in the Botanical Gardens in Sydney. It was a glorious, sunny, Winter day. The Pok (AKA my son) had a great time running around the trees, jumping on myself and his mother on the picnic blanket, and boofing himself on picnic food. By the time we had to return, he was absolutely exhausted and started to fall asleep on the bench while we waited for the bus to arrive. Doing my fatherly duties, I picked him up and held him while he slept so we could get onto the bus.

At some point in between sitting on the bench and getting off the bus, I lost my keys. I mean all my keys except for those of my car. It dawned on me pretty quickly when I went to pull them out of my pocket to open the front door (while I was carrying him asleep in my arms) that they were gone.

Panic!

I ran back to the bus stop and tried to see if I could cut off the bus as it did the loop to return to the city. I missed it. I waited around for a few other buses with the same route number to roll past, but none of them had the keys. I couldn’t remember what the bus driver looked like either.  The third bus I hopped on near my stop had the driver inform me that he just started his shift. The game was up, the bus had probably returned to the depot. 2 hours later I finally returned home and I was not happy. I had lost my house keys and security swipe, letterbox key, security swipe for my son’s child care centre, key for my bike lock, keys for my garage cage, keys for my bike roof racks, and the key to my locker draw at work that had my work laptop in it. This was going to be a proper pain, and potentially expensive to replace.

Lost and found at Sydney Buses is not open on weekends so I had to wait till Monday (earlier this week). They were disorganised at best. They could not tell me which depot the bus originated from, and they could not even tell me which depot the keys would have been possibly returned to. I was now very unhappy and quite frustrated with the lackadaisical attitude of the public servants that we dealt with. My wife also reminded me of how much of a plonker I was for losing my keys… yep, I was living the dream!

I had to get one of the girls to organise a break-in to my locker drawer so I could do some work. I slowly started to resign myself to the fact that I would have to organise replacement of all the keys. Then on Wednesday my wife received a call from the building manager for our apartment. Someone had found a set of keys in Circular Quay and rang the locksmith who cut the master fire stairs keys that we all have to our apartment complex.

This stranger had gone to the effort of ringing up the locksmith and tried to work out a way in which he could return the keys to their rightful owner. They ended up dropping them off to one of the local Police stations in my area, and my Building Manager was able to pick them up yesterday and have them returned to us. Not a single key was missing.

A kind stranger has gone out of their way to return something to someone they did not know. He probably thought about the distress he would experience if he lost these and went to great efforts to try and return them to their owner. I was not happy earlier this week,  and by the end of the week I was quietly happy – not for the return of the keys, but for the fact that someone, a stranger, would go out of their way to perform a task of no reward to them.

To that stranger I say “Thank You!” I resolve myself to returning the act to another stranger should that time come.