Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Teachable Moment ~ for Me!

My HS students are working feverishly to have Sweet Charity - the Musical ready for performance. We were missing a bow tie for Matthew who is playing the waiter and my favorite vintage clothing store, Cheap Jacks, moved from 14th St. (right near school) to 31st St. a year ago. So, before our after-school rehearsal started, I scooted uptown on the subway and as I was walking up the steps to the street I noticed a zippered pouch that was open and its contents partially spilled out. I picked it up and turned back down to give it to the toll booth person, forgetting that I had exited at the front of the train where there was no "person." I zipped up the bag, put it in my pocketbook and decided I'd deal with it when I got back to school.

When I did, I found the pouch contained a woman's US passport, her checkbook, some keys and luckily an address book which contained her phone number on the first page. I called her and told her I had found her bag, what was still in it and that I would drop it off at a local police precinct after my rehearsal. When she asked me where I was and I told her, she knew the school and had even attended it herself for night school classes. She said she would be there within the hour and I proceeded with rehearsal.

When she arrived, I was backstage and the students had to come get me to say there was a "lady looking for me." When I returned her bag, she thanked me profusely, asked if she could "give me something" and when I said no (unless she wanted to come back and see one of the performances), she was on her way.

My students wanted to know "who that was." I thought recounting a brief version of the story would be a teachable moment... how to return lost things to their owners, paying it forward etc. Instead four students recounted stories of their own good samaritanship...and in each case they went to much more trouble than I did to do the right thing. It was indeed a teachable moment - for me!

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