In a world full if money-grabs, Myles Ned decided instead to invest in doing the right thing.
Ned works in the produce department at the Quesnel Safeway, and has for a long time. He has his routines. That’s why he’s so incredulous about the rare breaking of his usual cycles but landing in the path of oncoming fate, one day this spring. He did not have a scheduled break anytime soon, that day, but he wanted some outside time, so he opted to do a round of shopping cart gathering. That took him out a door he never usually uses, and put him in a part of the property he never normally goes.
He credits his life of skateboarding for what happened next. When you use your board to commute, you learn, out of safety and survival, to scan the ground for the smallest object that might buck you off. That peripheral vision drew his attention to a lump on the ground near the south entrance of the store.
“I saw a wad of what I thought was 20s, but then I realized how fat it was. I took it in to my manager and said, hey, I just found this roll of money and it’s a lot,” he said. It was $600.
Manager Gloria Moskalyk was the next Safeway Samaritan to step up when the chips were down. Moskalyk reviewed the store’s surveillance footage and actually pinpointed the micro-moment when a customer unknowingly had the money fall out of a pocket. There was no way of identifying the man, other than his physical features.
That’s when Ned came back into the story. He recognized the man as a regular customer, as was the woman he was shopping with that day. He didn’t know their names, but was familiar with their faces. The money went into an envelope on which were instructions for any staff member who might be there on the day they hoped would come soon - someone inquiring about the missing money.
All Ned could do, at that point, was watch and wait. And wait. And wait. He even thought he spotted the man, one day, and spoke up to the sytranger, but quickly discovered it was just the mistaken identity of wishful thinking.
Weeks turned into months, and Ned was becoming concerned. But one day in July, he spotted, without a trace of doubt in his mind, the woman who was with the money-man the day it got dropped. As he strode towards her to introduce himself, the equally certain figure of the man himself came into view behind her. His pulse quickened and he spoke up as they approached.
“As soon as I got it out, tears started dropping down his face and he said ‘that was my grocery money’ which would explain why I hadn’t seen him in so long,” said Ned.
The man got all of his money back, and an extra donation of warm realization that some people in this world are looking out for their fellow humans, even strangers. He tried to cut some of the money out of the roll and put in Ned’s hands, he offered to buy Ned a beer, anything to show appreciation, but Ned only accepted the thanks and expressions of appreciation. That was all he ever wanted out of the deal.
“You wouldn’t believe how many people I told who said ‘I would have kept it.’ Wow. That’s…rough,” said Ned. “Cause, for me, I couldn’t afford to lose that. This was a man in need…you’re going to do that to someone like that? What if it was a single mother?”
Ned’s zen-like philosophies have been honed by a lifetime of creative pursuits aimed at uplifting. He is an accomplished musician, and you can watch his video gaming highlights on his YouTube channel WestworldSimp.
Perhaps the most amazing twist to this serpentine story is how Ned has a nearly eidetic memory, but can’t remember the man’s name. He knows he told him, but the adrenaline of the moment snuffed out the necessary concentration. Ned was just basking in a rare moment of pure happiness. Like a wad of fallen grocery money, the value of simple kindness might sometimes seem lost or discarded in modern society, but it can be picked up and put in the right hands. It’s your choice, said Ned.
“That was probably the greatest day I’ve had, on a workday, my favourite day at work. It was July 21. To get it back to him just meant the world to me.”