It's a chilly and wet morning here in Dallas, a true sign of spring. The birds are chirping and puddles are everywhere, and the thought of gardens and late sunsets is stuck in my craw.
With spring comes renewal. I am much more in tune with the idea of turning over new leaves in spring rather than on Jan. 1. There just seems to be more energy and motivation to do what you want to do, to capitalize on intentions.
So, I'm striving to be a better person in a more general sense. To pay it forward. It seems like, every day presents an opportunity to give, to be a little less selfish, to attend to more spiritual needs. Sometimes that opportunity falls from a car right in front of you.
Like on Tuesday.
I was leaving a work meeting at around 7 p.m., and I was in the Park Cities. If you know anything about this very posh area surrounded by Dallas, and yet unincorporated, it is that there are many people who are image-conscious and perhaps more than a little self-absorbed. Money is rarely an object in those parts.
I was walking to my car and saw an older man and a women getting into theirs. The man had set his jacket on top of the car while he was stowing other things. They were dressed as if they might have attended a funeral that had just concluded a few blocks down.
They took off a bit before me, and just after they turned to head down a busy street, I noticed that the man didn't retrieve his jacket from the top of his car. as they went farther down the street, the jacket slowly slipped from the top of the sedan to the trunk, and then floated off.
I immediately drove toward the jacket, hoping I could get to it before the fast-moving tires of any one of the myriad Mercedes and Lexus SUVs on that street could. A woman in a Land Rover got to it before I could, but when I drove up to it, it didn't appear to be any worse off. So I plucked it from the roadway and hoped that the couple hadn't gotten too far out in front of me.
I spotted them at the intersection of McFarlin Boulevard and Preston Road. Preston is a pretty significant thoroughfare in the Park Cities. Other cars were whizzing by, but by the luck of a protected left turn, I kept them in view.
I must've seemed like a crazy person, honking my horn, windows rolled down and bright headlights flashing. None of this, though, got the attention of the older couple in the car in front of me. And my heart nearly broke as they accelerated through a yellow light at Preston and Mockingbird Lane, turning right into Highland Park Village, almost assuredly lost.
I had come this far, though, and I wasn't giving up.
So when the light finally turned green, I followed suit.
I drove up and down the crowded lots of Highland Park Village, unable to find their car so that I could return the lost jacket. No luck.
Frustrated, I was just about to leave when I saw the pair, walking toward a restaurant.
I pulled up quickly, cutting off a Maserati driven by an expertly coiffed woman in enormous sunglasses. I shouted, "Sir! Ma'am! Excuse me! Excuse me please!"
They turned their heads in every direction, wondering if it was them someone was shouting at. Finally they spotted me.
"Sir! You dropped this back on McFarlin. I wanted to make sure it got back to you."
The wife, who appeared to be Korean and in her late 50s, fired off a quick smack to her hulking husband's arm.
"He left it on top of car, didn't he?"
"Yes, he did. I was able to get it though. I tried to signal to you both back on Preston, but I don't think you saw me."
They both thanked me profusely, shaking my hand and saying "Bless you! You're so kind!"
It was a small gesture to chase them down, but in all, I felt so much better for doing that. I was happy that the man got his jacket back, and that he wouldn't spend hours later that day retracing his steps and wondering where he dropped it. His wife wouldn't lay into him with anything more painful than the playful prod she gave him earlier.
And now I wait for the next opportunity to make someone's day a little better.