Monday, February 8, 2010

At least we weren't carrying nuclear launch codes

At the risk of appearing to have my life in Lebanon characterized by trailing a constant stream of lost possessions, I think I really should share an experience I had last week. I am very grateful to live in a country where so many people practice altruistic kindness.

Towards the end of our highly successful trip the National Museum, our video camera was misplaced. We didn’t discover this fact until the next day, when we were preparing to head out to Byblos. This was a particularly dangerous situation because we had been taking advantage of our camera’s extensive storage and not regularly copying out the content. We had several months of video stored on that camera with no other backup. The camera loss I could replace with money, the content would never come back…

After a unsuccessful and progressively more consternating search at home, we returned to the museum. They were just opening, so not all the staff was available. At first it seemed like they didn’t have it, but as we were preparing to leave in defeat, there was a last minute save. A patron had turned in the video camera, and the staff had kept it safe for us. I am so grateful to those unknown strangers who could have easily pocketed the camera, but turned it in (at only abstract value to themselves (yeah social contract!)). I was further impressed that despite my insistence, none of the museum staff would accept any reward money for helping us.

I am deeply impressed at this chain of people who could have easily have acted differently. Bravo museum staff, and bravo nameless strangers!

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