Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pay It Forward - Dance Bag

This week my bestest bud and next door neighbor found a dance bag sitting in the road, near my car parked outside our home.  The Fab Neighbor comes into my house and says, "Do you know who Samantha is?" I'm totally confused.

Me: "No. What are you talking about?"

Fab Neighbor: "Well, I found this dance bag -- Irish Step Dance (!), and it belongs to Samantha and apparently she is 10 years old [same age as Big E], so I figured she was a friend of E's."

Me: "Huh. I have no idea who that is."

Fab Neighbor and I are trying to decide how to return the dance bag to the proper owner.  Known facts: 1) first and last name of a ten-year old girl -- which we only knew because of a piece of paper that appeared to list dances that Ms. Samantha must have been in for a recent dance competition, 2) the dance studio's name that was embroidered on the bag, and 3) not a freaking thing.

Tactic One: DexOnline the child's last name to see if anyone in our zip code shares her last name.  Hmmm... NOPE.  There are 30 folks with the same last name in the Twin Cities -- with an estimated population of approximately 3 MILLION people in the entire metro area.  FAIL.  I am not cold calling a minimum of 30 families. Not a fan of cold calls.

Tactic Two: Google the dance studio name and see if we can contact the studio for information about the family.  Found the dance studio website easily enough but there were no phone numbers listed so we were stuck with sending an email to a webmaster email black hole.

Fast forward a few days. I receive an email from Ms. Samantha's mom.  SCORE!  The studio contacted the mom and the mom contacted us.  After several emails, with both Other Mom and I being overly cautious since neither of us wanted to exchange too much personal information, we decide to meet at a park where Big E is playing soccer to pass off the dance bag.

YAY!  We meet in person and return the dance bag to super grateful and over the top sweet family.  Turns out they had been in our neighborhood for a "fossil hunt-thingy" through a park and rec nearby and when they got back to their car, unfortunately, their back window was smashed out (as well as a few other vehicles) and their dance bag was gone.

The sweetest, ten-year-old girl gave me the biggest hug and handed me the most gracious and affectionate thank you letter ever.  Then her mom gives me a massive bouquet of gorgeous flowers.  I was all but moved to tears by the thank you letter, which I am sharing below.

It is so awe-inspiring to be a part of something so genuine that put such joy and happiness on the face of such a beautiful girl (who I might add, at 10-years old, was several inches taller than me. Hee, hee!)  It is so easy to look the other way and not put the tiny bit of extra work into doing good.

So, again I need to say, YAY!!!

Just in case it's too hard to read the letter via my awful picture.

"Dear Ann,

I can't thank you enough for finding my bag and going through all of that trouble to finding me to return it to me. It was so hard to get back from such a fun day to see our car window broken and my bag gone! I cried for such a long time! Now that you found my bag I am back to being happy because you found my bag and that there are nice people out there to outnumber all the bad people out there. Thank you so, so, so, so, so much!

Love, Sam"

BONUS! Sam had been at a dance competition over the weekend and had won her first TWO gold medals ever, but they were in her dance bag, so she was afraid that she would never see them. My heart swelled with such pride that we could make such a phenomenal girl so happy, just by doing what was right and good.

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