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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Observer

Don't lose compassion when you lose your wallet

According to the South Bend Police Department, there have been nearly 200 incidents of larceny in the past month. Larceny accounts for instances of theft and shoplifting. All of these people suffered a loss that could have been avoided.

I recently had my wallet stolen. 

This was, of course, completely concerning. There was a lot of important stuff in my wallet — my room key, my license and other identifying cards, my Target card (okay maybe this one is not necessarily that important, but it is to me), my credit card and cash. If I did not properly handle the situation, losing my wallet could’ve led to losing the money in my bank account or losing my identity. Even the unimportant stuff I had was a hassle to lose, including the crystal I had bought from a shop back home that was supposed to be good for finances.

Needless to say, I was very upset. To be quite candid and more specific, I was feeling angry. There was someone out there who felt the need to take all of my valuable items (granted, they ended up leaving behind my license), when they could have simply handed it in to the police. In my mind, that is what a good person would do and anything besides that would make someone abominable.

Studies have even been done to show that people are even more likely to return a wallet if they found cash in it. A New York Times article described a situation where 40 percent of people returned a cashless wallet and 72 percent of people returned it when they saw a substantial amount of money in it. Why should I be in the 28 percent of unlucky people? I felt like I had every right to be mad at someone taking advantage of my bad luck. How could this person be redeemable if 72 percent of people would act in the “proper” manner and they refused to?

After the first few hours of the incident passed, I realized maybe I was overreacting. I cannot truly be mad at whoever took it. 

I am still upset that I had lost all of my stuff, but realistically, there is someone out there that may have desperately needed the contents of my wallet. I was fortunate enough to have those contents in my possession in the first place and I am privileged enough to say that this situation did not completely wreck my life. To me, it may have been some cash. To whoever took my wallet, it may have been an opportunity to pay off some of their debt or buy some dinner. Why would they need to take a crystal? I am not sure, but maybe someone’s daughter had always had that on their wish list and they finally had the opportunity to make them happy. 

For those who are cautious enough to not get their wallet stolen, I hope there is still a lesson to be learned. It is always better to look at a situation with empathy and compassion. 

Depending on the situation, it cannot always be easy. In fact, there are certain heinous crimes where it does not even seem possible to apply this concept. However, it is still good practice for our daily lives, little annoyances and petty drama. 

Not only does it help us become a better and more understanding person, it can also help us come to terms with the things that have happened to us. You never know what someone is going through and sometimes the best thing to do in a situation is to be sympathetic. No matter what your immediate reaction to a situation is, remember to always try to take a step back and evaluate the situation with compassion.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.