I'm fortunate to have a great schedule this semester. I have class Tuesday through Thursday, leaving me with Mondays and Fridays to regroup, catch up, and, well, breathe. Not a bad way to finish up my (undergrad) college career, no?
I had a laundry list of little errands to run today, in addition to much-needed homework time at Starbucks, so I got right to it after dropping Kiddo off at school. His new school starts at 7:45a, which allows for an early start on a productive day.
First stop was the bank, as we had a random FLEX check to deposit. When my receipt printed at the ATM, the balance looked hinky. I parked for a second and used my phone to check our transactions. My heart sank. There were 13, yes 13, transactions for $184 each. I called my husband and he promptly called our bank.
Long story short (too late?), Mario's debit card number had been hacked and someone used it to purchase about $2500 in foreign gift cards from a Nordic company (I googled them). It was obviously fraud, and the bank is taking care of it, but what a violation. And inconvenience. Mario is teaching a marketing class in New Jersey and now has no debit card.
As I often do, I started thinking of the worst case scenario. We don't always have that kind of balance in our checking account. What if we had already mailed our mortgage and other big bills? The bank is assuring us that the money will be returned by Friday, but what about those families who aren't as fortunate as we are? Are there kiddos going without food over situations like this? I feel heartsick for anyone who has gone through this and didn't have the means to get by for a week (or more). Situations like this renew my appreciation for the life I have been given.
I also think about the person, sitting rather anonymously in the comfort of their home somewhere, stealing livelihoods. Are they able to simply ignore the fact that there are people behind those accounts? Children? Hard working families? Students trying to better their lives? With talents such as theirs, they could do good in this world. Instead, they spend their time ruining perfectly good Mondays. Or worse.
When I see a moment of depravity such as this, I worry about the world around me. And the world my son and his children will have to navigate once we are gone. We use every opportunity we are given to teach our son right from wrong. When he stays back to hold a door for an elderly person, stands up for another child, and chooses what is right over what is easy, I feel like I am doing my part to change the course of our society.
Skyrocketing poverty levels, rapid population growth, and a reduction in education rates aside (all of which are quite related), it seems that a rather common sense concept is often lacking in everyday society: consideration for others.
Just this morning I saw two grown men laugh out loud at a young bagel shop employee after she dropped a sleeve of coffee cup lids all over the floor. They were not two feet away and neither thought to help her as she scrambled, red-faced, to clean up the scattered mess.
On a regular basis, I see drivers honking and cursing at a fellow driver sitting behind the wheel of a stalled car. Not one person in a line of traffic even thinks to get out and help push it off the road. Do they not know what it feels like to have your car break down? I do. It's awful.
Kiddo found a $100 bill on the ground at a nearby mall a couple weeks before Christmas. We waited for the person to return, left a note at customer service, and did everything we could think of to find the owner. We never did, but I spent a week wondering if someone's kids went without presents because of that lost Benjamin. I am by no means tooting my own horn, but how many people in that mall would have given it a second thought?
I am a worrier to a fault, and I certainly don't expect others to be, but what would our communities look like if people worried a little more? Could that man who was pushed onto the subway tracks been saved? Would fewer crimes go unsolved? Would that mom hit her kids in the middle of a crowded grocery store?
There are a lot of good people out there lobbying for change. I am certainly not suggesting we live in a society full of depraved individuals. But I also do not think we are going in the right direction.
So what can be done? I suppose it starts one person at a time. Those of us who live honest lives and show compassion for others add up. If we show our children what love and kindness look like, we've done something. We have taken the first step.
We cannot know in advance if helping a single mom pay for her groceries could change the course of society. But if she goes home and teaches her kids to show the same compassion, we are on our way to something better.