Nagasaki man gets back the cash he left at ATM
You should read this story. It's heartwarming. I'm not sure if this would happen the same way twice. Perhaps no one used the ATM in the ten minutes between when he left the money there and when he returned in a justified panic. Perhaps there are a few honest people in Nagasaki. I prefer to think the latter. Either way, he's one lucky guy. I can imagine how I'd feel if I'd done the same thing. In fact, I can feel it now and all I'm doing is telling you about it. Jangled nerves, a doomed feeling. I'm pretty sure my empathetic response is just a ghost of his real thing, though.
Years ago, I dropped a plastic case I carried my ATM and foreign registration cards. I had a pretty good idea where. I'd been wearing a pair of shorts, the kind with pockets where things fall out constantly, and I'd been riding a bicycle along a particular route that morning. Taken altogether, these gave me a pretty clear picture of just how I'd lost the case and cards. But when I went back to check, the case was not there. Nor was it anywhere along the path. I went to the police box, reported the loss, went to the bank and went through the process of getting a new ATM card and all that fun stuff.
Two days later, my cellphone rang. It was the police. They told me in Japanese someone had found my case and to come by the police box to pick it up. I went there on my break from work, and the officer at the desk strongly urged me to call a certain phone number and speak to the guy who'd found and returned my stuff. So I did. I thanked him, and we talked a little in English, but I regret not inviting him for a drink or something like that. I never think of those things until much later.
As I left, the police officer gave me that "hang loose" surfer gesture with one hand and actually said, "Hang loose." I smiled and thanked him, and left feeling pretty good about life in general. Later, I felt like a heel for reasons I've already explained. I can only hope my poor performance didn't sour that nice guy on helping strangers.
Getting back to the ATM story, one amusing detail is ATMs here warn you not to leave anything behind. As soon as you finish your transaction, you get a recorded voice telling you to make sure you take all you belongings and your money, and there's even a warning beep. I'm sure I've come close to walking away without my money, my bank card or my receipt, but I'm also sure I've always turned back because of the warning. If it's something you do everyday, though, and your actions become automatic, all it takes is a moment's distraction and your body tells you everything is cool. You've got all your stuff, walk away. It's a lie.
Sometimes, though, you body starts sending you a silent message along your nerves. A sense of disquiet. Unease. That's your body telling your forgetful brain there's something it hasn't done, that it needs to do from years of conditioning. It needs to reach down, grab that money, that card and that little slip of paper with your transaction and account information on it. Sometimes the body is smarter than the brain.