At brunch today, I was happily reminded that the vast majority of people are good and trusting -- including me!
See, last night I went out for karaoke with a group of friends. It was super fun, and dare I say, we rocked it. And I like to think I looked cute in my skinny black jeans, grey tank top, and silvery clutch.
Anyway, flash-forward to this morning. I went to a previously-booked Pilates class, and then decided to take myself straight to a nice breakfast along the London canals, about 2km from my house. I ended up at Arepa & Co., a lovely little Venezuelan place right on the water that I'd never tried before. I ordered, and enjoyed, a hot chocolate and an avocado brunch plate. I leisurely read the book I'd brought with me.
Eventually I asked for the bill, and the friendly server brought it over and patiently waited as I dug through my handbag for my wallet.
Which, as it turned out, was still at home in last night's silvery clutch, 2km away.
I was so embarrassed. I actually think I've managed to get all the way up to this exact moment in my life without ever being in that situation before, where there was absolutely no one else there to ask to spot me the money, and where I didn't even realize I'd forgotten it until it was too late.
"I'm so sorry," I apologized. "I seem to have left my wallet at home. I'll have to go and get it and come back to pay you."
The server looked hesitant, which was understandable, and I haltingly tried to look for some sort of collateral to leave with him, to guarantee I'd be back. What, though? My phone was vastly more valuable than the £12 brunch, so that seemed excessive. And pretty much the only other thing I had with me was my book, which I doubted he'd want.
Finally he cut off my embarrassed stammering: "It's ok, I trust that you'll come back," he said.
Now, granted, what else was he really supposed to do? Call the police over a cheap unpaid meal? Make a scene? Detain me under citizen's arrest?
So I made my way back down the canals for 2km, grabbed my naughty, naughty wallet from home, spun on my heel, and walked back to the restaurant, arriving nearly an hour after I'd left it.
When he saw me coming, the waiter broke into a big smile. "I knew I was right to trust you!" he said. Which I mean, of course I was always going to come back, being an honest person, but I hated to think I'd been so silly and caused him any grief, so I added a large tip to the bill when I finally, finally paid it.
That was an unexpected hour out of my day, but on the plus side, at least it happened on a day when I had nowhere else to be. A little extra walking never hurt anyone!
And I think what I'll remember is the friendly server's smile when I stumbled back up the steps of the restaurant for the second time that day, debit card in hand. The look that he'd been right to trust a stranger, and that the world was basically still full of good people.
Occasionally forgetful people, yes. But still good.