As many apartment dwellers, I own a shopping cart that I use to lug my purchases from my car to my home. Every Friday morning as I leave for work, I take the cart with me in case I decide to do to my groceries on my way home. I leave it in my parking spot and off I go.
It is old and bent and might be worth a whole five dollars. While the thought has crossed my mind that maybe someone could steal it, I decided to trust in humankind. Maybe someone would borrow it to get them out of a jam and return it as soon as they were done, but no one would take it, would they? Even if they did, it was pretty worthless and a replacement might be a good idea so it wouldn’t really matter, would it?
Last night when I got home, the cart was gone. I was a little sad. I would have been angry had I gone shopping but I had opted to go to a baseball game instead of a grocery store. So there was nothing my little metal pack mule needed to transport. Most stores had been closed for a couple of hours already so the borrowed theory seemed unlikely. By the time I got upstairs, I felt like a loser. I had trusted my fellow residents and they had let me down. While the cart didn’t gain any monetary value in my eyes, I still felt violated. Someone had taken what was mine. Had I misjudged the world? Was I destined to be taken advantage of? Maybe I was asking for it, but I wouldn’t have touched another’s belongings so why would someone take what was mine?
This morning I decided to scan the garage for the cart just in case it might have been relocated. On the opposite side of the garage, it stood waiting for me to claim it back. I smiled at it like it was a beloved friend that I hadn’t seen in ages. I refrained from hugging it, folded it and tucked it in behind the front seats. It turned out that it mattered more to me than I had ever thought. Somehow, its disappearance affected my faith in people.
What do you think? Did I overreact? Do you have a similar story to share? How did you feel when someone took something from you?