The backpack with the broken pocket

By BRIANNA TIEDEMAN

Adviser

It is 6 p.m. on Friday evening and the text sound goes off; “I’m here.”

Going into rush mode, I drop what I am doing, save my work, pack up my stuff, throw my wallet in my broken backpack pocket and shrug because I still have not fixed the latch I just let my life—credit cards, cash, license, donor ID, Triple AAA card, insurance card—depend on. What else could go wrong? It’s totally cool, I gotta go.

The “I’m here” text later escalates into the verbal “Let’s get RedBox” idea and I venture to Walmart, fully confident I will be able to swipe my M&T Ravens debit card and make my transaction. What movies are out now, we wonder: Mike and Dave are still looking for wedding dates, the pets are still living their secret lives, and that girl is still on the train.

We pick our RedBox movie, we have a plan, we want pizza, but what is not in my backpack? No wallet. Panic mode. This is hands down a First-World problem, but the kicker is world-wide, so keep reading.

When you lose your whole life (or just your wallet), the worst feelings in the world all come in one whooping swing of awful. Your heart is racing, you want to get angry but you try not to freak out, you want to call everyone and their sister to replace your cards even though they are closed and ultimately, everyone you look at or talk to is the person who, later that night, you are going to blame.

Running through the building, calling SU Police, checking and double-checking the lost and found; I could not get a handle on myself. The thought that someone stole my wallet took over and I wanted to give up, call my bank and go to the MVA at 9 p.m.

Life on Earth today perpetuates with a stigma: people are inherently bad, inherently ill-intentioned and inherently selfish. Anyone on campus could be swiping left and right all over my credit cards or stealing my identity, and I failed to find a reason to think otherwise. Except I decided to, because what else did I have to lose—literally, my wallet was already gone so what else?

The first go-around of searching, nervousness and doubt blurred my ability to ask the people in the building if they saw a wallet that night. I asked the people standing behind a desk, monitoring a sad drawer with other sad lost items, none of which were wallet-shaped, small and previously belonged to me. The second and last round we checked, I found my faith—my faith in people and in the good, just for this moment. The idea of people, all people, being malicious would not be true tonight.

All it took was a few conversations before I asked an amazing member of the janitorial staff, Mr. Baron, if he had seen my wallet. Then a lovely Chick-fil-A worker, Ms. Gail, overheard my inquiry and said, “Girl, you are lucky if you just said you lost a wallet—someone just turned one in.”

All of my anxiety diminished, my heart rate slowed and my faith in my fellow humans rose back up to its normal level, and then some.

Thank you to the staff who heard me out, and especially to the kind citizen who respectfully turned my wallet in, as well as turned my mistake into a lesson and a new mindset of faith in others. What we put in to our perspective will come out full circle, and what we believe of our society will do the same. Positivity, hope and maybe a new backpack could go a long way. My backpack may be a little broken, but its pocket is only as strong as its support.

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