The times that we live in do not include much faith in our fellow man. Most people believe that it is a dog eat dog world and if you do not fend for yourself nobody will. Nobody seems to want to help anyone out and in the idea that one mans gain is another mans loss; nobody really seems to think about that loss.
As I am sure most of you know, in Cincinnati we left our camera bag behind in the parking lot on our way to Chicago. About 50 miles into our drive we realized our mistake and turned around. Upon getting to the spot of a hopeful retrieval, our expectations of the camera bag being nowhere to be found were fulfilled. We immediately got on our phones calling the Reds, the police and the owners of the parking service of that particular lot, all to no avail. We walked around the stadium to see if there was a lost and found or anyone who the bag may have been turned in to. Wishful thinking I know, but we had to do what we had to do. Obviously, because this would not be much of a story if we did, we did not find the bag, swallowed our pride and resumed our journey. The four hour drive to Chicago was extremely long with the thought of our great loss weighing on our minds. More than the financial loss of the cameras (two digital cameras and one video recorder) was the loss of the pictures on those cameras that were irreplaceable. Bad sleep followed the next night with the burden of what had happened. I felt dumb and angry at the same time. Tomorrow would be another day and life would go on.
I woke up the next morning to check my email when all of our fortune turned one hundred eighty degrees. I received an email from a man named Paul Richards entitled Cameras. I opened it. It read Men, I found your cameras in the parking lot in Cincinnati. Dont worry they are safe and in good hands. I am going to be in Chicago on business and would be more than happy to return them to you at the Sox game on the 8th as I am going to that game. Talk to you soon. Paul Richards. He left his contact information with the letter. I could not believe what I was reading. A day that the other guys were supposed to sleep in turned into a sudden wake up call. As I described it to the news reporter, I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning waking up my parents, I could not wait to spread the good news. I called him about an hour later, and realized that this was no joke. This guy had found a small fortune but still did the right thing. The next day we went to the game in Chicago and met up with Paul. This man is amazing. He returned the camera bag with all its contents as if it was no big deal at all. He kept telling us this is no big deal, I am just doing the right thing.
Now most of you would think that this is a cool story but not that insane. The twists are this. When Mr. Richards got home he told his wife what he found and told her that he would take care of it when he got back from Chicago, but then looked in the bag, saw our business cards and remembered seeing our card and thought I need to find these kids now. The second crazy thing is that neither of us had to go out of our way to make this exchange happen, not only was Mr. Richards kind (understatement of a word) enough to return the camera bag, he was going to be in the same city and even at the same game that we were going to be at with no change of plans. If that is not some sort of miracle then I do not know what is. Now after reading this, even though it will not bring peace on Earth, it has to make you second guess that man is unkind and selfish. What Mr. Richards did for us was not only selfless but, at least for myself, gave me faith that good people are still and always have been out there and that not all men are inherently evil. Mr. Richards, as we have done several times already, I want to thank you again and again and again. What you did is extremely commendable and I will never forget what you did to help us keep this trip as amazing as it has been. You are now a part of fulfilling the dream of what we are doing this crazy summer. Thank you very much again and I hope that in my lifetime I encounter many more people like yourself.
To view the article that appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer on June 9, 2004 click the following link: http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2004/06/09/loc_baseballtrip09.html