Last August, my husband, Judah, and I went for a more-of-a-stroll-than-a-hike in upstate New York with our friend, Renee. After our leisurely stroll, we found a socially-distanced spot in a large, grassy open area to enjoy our lunch and relax for an hour or two, enjoying each other’s company.
The sun was warm; the breeze was cool. It was the perfect combination.
A random man set up his spot in the shade, directly in my field of vision but behind Judah and Renee. He took his picnic blanket out of its carrying bag, carefully spread it out on the soft grass, and lazily lounged while talking on the phone.
The nice breeze started slowly stealing his carrying bag, thinking no one was looking, and the man definitely wasn’t looking. I saw it immediately, but there was no imminent threat. I remained engaged in chatting and soaking up the sun.
Another gust of wind. And another.
The bag moved further and further away from the clueless man.
Should I say something?
I brought Judah and Renee up to speed on the thievery. Neither seemed remotely bothered. But they weren’t facing it. I was forced to watch the methodical dance, the measured sleight-of-hand the wind was playing at.
No one cared. Except for me. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Couldn’t help putting myself in this man’s shoes. Imagine standing up to leave, only to find someone stole my carrying bag. But how? I was right here the whole time! I would have seen them!
I couldn’t take it. It was consuming every cell in my being. I stood up, shoeless, and walked over to the bag, snatched it out of the wind’s grip, and handed it to its oblivious owner.
My heart rate slowed. I could feel the warmth of the sun again. The breeze was enjoyable.
I assumed anyone would have seen what was happening. Anyone would have rescued the bag. But clearly, I was wrong, and my present company was completely unmoved.
What would you do?