By now, I think everyone knows that I spent my Thanksgiving holiday in New York City with my family. What stereotypes come to your mind when you think about New York City? Do you think about the high crime rate and how unsafe you are in the big city? Does it immediately come to your mind how rude and abrasive people are? Let me share the following story with you.

The entire family slept in on the Friday after Thanksgiving. We had a fabulous time the night before— maybe a bit too fabulous! Anyway, after knocking on my kids’ door, it became apparent that they had no interest in joining us for breakfast. I didn’t blame them for wanting to sleep in— I was quite tired myself but knew a cup of coffee would help things considerably. My husband and I walked over to the deli across the street to grab something to eat. We ate a quick breakfast and went back to the room to change our clothes. We felt it would be wise to spend some time burning off calories from the previous night’s dinner at the workout room.

I decided to take a few minutes to do some work on my computer, but I first needed my glasses from my purse. I started searching all over the hotel room for my bag. I looked in every drawer and scoured every inch of the hotel room to no avail. And then I had a flash of memory: putting my purse on the chair next to me at the restaurant. In a panic state, I told my husband that I was positive I had left my purse at the restaurant. Twenty minutes had gone by since we left the deli and went back to our room.

As I ran across the street, I thought about the odds of finding my purse there. Let’s face it; the odds were slim to none. I started mentally itemizing everything that I had in my purse that would be missing: numerous credit cards, money, my driver’s license…It was Black Friday and the city was jammed with people. I believed this raised the odds of someone taking my purse. As I walked into the restaurant, I immediately looked over to the table where I had been sitting and eating breakfast.

A man was sitting with his wife in the exact same seat. When he saw my face, he yelled out to me “It’s your purse isn’t it? I found it when I sat down and I took it to the counter.” I went over to the couple, grabbed their hands and thanked them profusely. Everyone in the restaurant was smiling at me! As I looked at them, I realized that they were as happy and relieved for me as I was for me!

If you’re not careful, you can get extremely comfortable with a view of the world as a scary, unsafe place where people are lurking around every corner, ready to take advantage of you. The constant stream of media certainly reinforces this image of the world. It’s easy to forget that this is far from the truth— I believe that the majority of people in the world are kind, compassionate and eager to help others. I am very grateful that I was reminded of this fact this weekend.

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