Faith in Humanity: Restored!

So I meant to write this post months ago, but then school and holidays and sick kids and life distracted me…so here goes:

We took a great trip to Europe in August. As I’ve written about before, my favorite souvenirs to bring home from a vacation are pictures so I brought our nice Nikon D90 camera to capture our family’s big and little moments as we traveled the Alps.

My husband gave the camera to me for my 30th birthday – we had basically NO money at the time so he worked extra hours to buy it because he knew documenting our young family’s life was a hobby I would enjoy. He was right: I treasure the camera and the memories it holds. Using the camera reminds me of my husband’s love for me and my love for our family. It is more than just a camera.

So imagine my horror when we landed at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport after half a day of traveling to find an email from the Hertz rental car desk in Zurich:

Yes, we left the camera in the rental car.

No, the Hertz agents wouldn’t send it to us.

Yes, they would hold it for three months until we could come up with a plan to retrieve it.

No, they didn’t have any suggestions for me on how to get it back.

Hmmm…I called FedEx and DHL – both wanted HUNDREDS of dollars to deliver the camera, but neither would pack the camera in a box due to liability issues. I was at a loss and desperate: how would I get my missing camera??

I turned one of the 21st Century’s most beloved and reviled inventions: Facebook. I posted a plea in a Chicago mother’s group I’m  in (with about 30,000 members): Did anyone know anyone traveling to/from Zurich who could pick up my camera?

Lo and behold: TWELVE compete yet perfect strangers offered their assistance!

Within a few hours, a fellow Chicago area mother named Celine connected me with a man named Manuel who was coming to Chicago from Zurich the following month. He was my best and only chance. Putting all my faith in humanity, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.


Six weeks later, on an unseasonably warm late September afternoon, I pulled up to a random driveway in a random Chicago suburb. No one was home, but I had been told I’d find my $1,000 camera in a plastic bin on the front porch. I put the car in park and approached the house.


I took the camera and left $100 in its place. I wish I could have given my rescuers a warm hug and a heartfelt thank you. Not only did they return a very special item to me in perfect condition, but they reminded me that good in the world still exists. Human beings are naturally kind and honest and helpful. So much had to go right for this story to end well, and I am grateful for many the strangers who cared enough to do the right thing.

Thank you to:

…the Hertz employee who cleaned our (filthy) rental car for honestly turning the camera in.

…the many Hertz employees who kept an eye on the camera while it sat in lost & found for four weeks.

…Celine for seeing my Facebook post and acting upon it.

…Manuel for picking up my camera, carrying it 4,425 miles over an ocean, and depositing it into his friend’s front porch bin. He is the true hero of my tale, and I promise I will pay this favor forward.

Faith in humanity: RESTORED!


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