Great story of honesty in France

Sep 9th, 2005, 07:33 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 122
Great story of honesty in France

Since we get so many questions about fears of pickpockets or gypsies or whatever else goes bump in the night, I want to share a very positive story.

My husband and I were in Strasbourg about a week ago. We came in late at night to a parking garage, which was closed. However, our hotel had a cardkey, and we were able to park inside. When it came time to leave, though, we didn't see the button to open the door at first, and thought we were stuck inside. Finally my husband spotted it, but in the confusion I (yes, I!) had set down his travel bag (wallet, cell phone, Palm Pilot, etc.), and walked away without it. Within about fifteen minutes we realized that it was missing, but when we went back it was gone.

Of course we were heartbroken, and worried. We cancelled the credit cards right away. Luckily his passport was not in there, and I had other cards, but it was still a nightmare.

But there is a happy ending. Later in the week we met up with friends who live in France, and they said that we really ought to check with the police, as they had had nothing but good experience with lost items. So we skeptically put in a call. Not only did they have the bag, but absolutely nothing had been touched! The policeman who went through it with us was so happy to help, and I think very proud that they could be of service.

Clearly we (I!) needed to be a lot more careful with our possessions. But I wanted to share the story for all those who think they will face a scary and uncivil world when they travel. Sometimes-- probably more often than we think-- people really do the right thing.
rsb99 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 07:42 AM
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How nice to read something positive for a change! Maybe others have a recent act of random kindness to share to keep the day bright...
klondike is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 08:26 AM
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Wonderful story. Mine isn't a Europe story, but it is a similar sort of thing.

After a wonderful holiday in Vail, Colorado a few years ago, I was in Vail at the outdoor area where you wait for buses & the shuttle van that takes people to the Denver airport. I had bought a new handbag in Vail & had EVERYTHING in it, including my plane tickets. Guess I hadn't sufficiently bonded with this new (large black leather & hardly unobtrusive!) handbag. When the shuttle van came, I & my friends got on & we were a couple of minutes down the road when I realized I'd left the bag behind on the bench I'd been sitting on in the outdoor public waiting zone.

Fortunately for me, the van driver was willing to turn around & return to the scene of my crime. I assumed my purse & its contents were gone but had to try.....

On the bench, there it sat in all its stuffed to the brim Dooney & Burke rugged glory. All by itself, though there were plenty of people milling about. Everything was intact. I was unbelievably lucky that I wasn't punished for my carelessness(well, I'm sure all the green beer on the previous day....St. Patrick's Day...had something to do with my mental state on that morning...) And it was nice to have an affirmation of the honesty of lots of fellow travellers that day.
eliztrav is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 08:32 AM
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My example isn't recent, but it is enduring. I was hitchhiking as a late-teen in college (something I won't permit my own kids to do in the future!) I had been picked up by a lorry driver in England. At the end of the ride at the end of the afternoon, I climbed down from his cab and almost immediately realized that my "travel wallet," which contained my passport, traveler's checks etc. was missing! I immediately went to the police station in the village and I hadn't gotten more than a few words out, explaining my predicament, when in came the lorry driver, wallet in hand, to return my lost wallet! He and I headed out to his local pub for a pint or two of his favorite ale, and enjoyed a wonderful conversation. I always look back upon that experience as an affirmation of the fundamental goodness of humanity.
letour is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 08:41 AM
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Last year, we were on vacation in the Loire Valley when I left my prescription glasses on a park bench in Angers. Didn't discover it til we were in Saumur (I was wearing my prescription sunglasses). Went back to the bench in Angers, found a note saying that they were going to try and leave the glasses with the "maison amicale des jardiniers" or if not, the police lost and found. Took us a while to puzzle out that the "maison amicale" was the clubhouse for the garden club at the edge of the park. It was closed. Next morning, we went to the lost and found and sure enough, there they were. The police officer had even cleaned them for me!
That same week, our dog had a veterinary emergency, also in Angers, and several people went the extra kilometer helping us out.
BTilke is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 09:03 AM
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We love France and have experienced similar acts of coutesy and kindness there.

Just one: A few years ago we were running from the TGV office at CDG to catch a train to Avignon.In the chaos I had left my AMEX card with the TGV cashier. As we were about ot board the train who came dashing down with it - the out-of-breath cashier.

Yes, you occasionally run in to a rude waiter or store employee but the general deportment of the French is excellent.

Glad you retrieved your things.

Powell is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 09:12 AM
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Thanks for that rsb99, we often assume people will be dishonest in some way or another.Anyway here's my story....

I recall some time ago whilst I was in Tokyo, walking up a busy street when I spotted a Japanese large currency paper note on the floor by the side of the road.
Alas in front of me was a rather bedraggled oldish man who had spotted it first. Walking past I watched him pick it up place it on a small wall next to the road and place a stone on top so it wouldn't blow away.

I'm not so sure that would have happened in many other places

Mucky is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 09:23 AM
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I've got two -

Last year in London, I was taking a taxi from my hotel to the airport. I asked the driver if I could plug my phone in for the drive, so I could use it on my return to the States. Of course, I got out and forgot it. Next thing I know, I'm in line to check in and I hear my name being called (we had chatted quite a bit during the hour drive). He had parked the taxi and came in to find me. Absolutely refused any kind of money.

The second was in Heidelberg, Germany. I picked some friends up at the airport. We were in a hurry to get to the pub, so one of the girls grabbed her shoes out of the trunk and we left. Many hours later, we were walking back to the hotel, and stopped at the car to pick up the rest of their things. Well, I couldn't find the keys anywhere. Got to the car and found a note under the windshield wiper. It was in Germany, but the hotel receptionist said the someone had seen the trunk open, with the keys in. They locked it up, and dropped the keys with the local police.

Both were very pleasant suprises!

It's nice to hear other stories about 'the kindness of strangers'.
celticdreams is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 09:31 AM
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My husband left his travel bag containing passport, plane tickets, credit cards, etc in the restroom on the train going from Florence to Rome. We did not even miss it until half an hour later, the train conducter brought it to us. The Italians sharing the train compartment with us broke out into applause and shared their bread, cheese, grapes and wine with us!

In Volterra, my husband laid down his video camera on a wall, forgot it and walked across the street. Five minutes later, he remembered and went back to get it. It was gone, so we went to the albaster store across the street and asked for help with our limited Italian. They called the police station, an d the police asked for a description of the missing video camera. Then they told us to go to the police station.When we got there, they handed us the camera! Someone had found it and immediately turned it in to the police station!
Saraho is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 09:43 AM
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During my first solo trip to Paris last year I was rushing to buy a train ticket while saying goodbye to friends I would not see for a long time. In all the commotion I missed the approaching train which was a blessing in disguise.

While waiting for the next train I realized with sinking heart (I remember it felt like my heart stopped beating) that I didn't have my wallet.

I backtracked to the ticket window remembering along the way all the fodor's traveling solo tips I had read about taking time and needing to be extra careful when traveling alone.

At the ticket counter I was reunited with my wallet after a mini lecture by the agent (a mild reprimand compared to what my husband would have said to me about my carelessness ) The person behind me in line had turned in the wallet as even the agent had not seen it.

Due to someone's honesty my trip was not marred by my carelessness.

I WILL TAKE MY TIME, I WILL NOT RUSH, I WILL NOT ACT LIKE A SCATTERBRAIN. I may eventually forget these things but I will always remember this honest act. Deborah
DeborahAnn is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 11:21 AM
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We could try to counteract the other threads by starting a new one called "Honesty runs rampant in the streets of France!"
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 11:31 AM
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Sandi, would this be true for those wearing white socks and baseball caps?
FainaAgain is offline  

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