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The Lost Laundry Card
GaEun, Age 13, North Vancouver, BC

“Um… Excuse me, but have you seen a laundry room cash card here? I think I lost mine.” The stranger approached me and my mom and asked us this question. The stranger had a short, black hair. He was not that tall, but a bit taller than average. He had this annoyed face and everyone in the laundry room could see that he was an impatient man.

“I don’t think so… There might have been one, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen it,” my mom answered uncertainly.

“Okay, thank you,” the stranger replied shortly and went away.

“Mom, haven’t you seen a card lying around somewhere near here?” I asked my mom.

“No, I haven’t seen it, but why?”

“Just wondering…”

“I think that person just dropped his card in his dirty clothing. I mean that person looked everywhere for it except in his stuff.”

“Oh well, it’s none of our business. That’s that person’s problem, not ours. So let’s just stay away from those kinds of incidents.” Mom told me.

“Okay.”

Few minutes later, my mom and I left the laundry room and went to a supermarket to buy some groceries, while waiting for the clothes to become cleaner. We faced the cashier, who greeted us with a charming, perfect smile. “Hello, my name is Kate, and how are you?”

“I’m feeling okay today,” my mom replied.

“That will be seventeen dollars and eighty-five cents, please?”

My mom reached into her pocket to grab her credit card or her wallet. But she couldn’t find it, because they all felt the same, so she began to pull out all the cards that were on the cashier’s counter. Then the two, identical laundry cards came out of my mom’s pocket. My mom and I were just totally shocked and surprised. We quickly paid the money, gathered up the groceries that we bought, then we went straight back to the laundry room. No one was there except us and the washing machines.

While we waited there, my mom kept saying that she had stolen something for the first time in her life, and how she was feeling so guilty. I never did anything like that, so I don’t know how my mom felt that day, but I didn’t really understand how my mom could be feeling guilty when she didn’t really steal anything. I mean it was all on accident, she didn’t do it intentionally.

My mom thought that she should apologize to him in person. I suggested leaving a note and the card behind. My mom didn’t like that idea very much. After waiting there for over twenty minutes, the stranger showed up eventually.

“Hi, I think I took your laundry card by mistake. I don’t know how I picked it up, but I guess I thought that this laundry card of yours was mine. I am so sorry,” my mom apologized to the man hesitantly.

“Oh… I kept searching since we first met exactly forty-five minutes and thirty-seven seconds ago. Just to let you know, I made a new laundry card. I got pretty impatient and frustrated after only five minutes after I first asked you about the card,” the stranger replied in an annoyed and sharp voice. He sure sounded ticked off.

“I’m really sorry, I should have checked my pockets first when you first asked me about your missing card.”

“Whatever. I’m not really interested in your apologies, so just hand my laundry card back to me already.”

“Here.”

“Just get out of my way, will you? I’m going to be late for work because of you people, ugh!”

My mom and I turned our body sideway, so that the stranger could run past us.

“I can’t believe that you actually apologized to that rude man, mom,” I said to her in a shocked voice.

“Well there are always people like that, but I did the right thing by apologizing to him. I would have felt so guilty and bad if I didn’t apologize to him. You should do that too, whenever you get into a situation like this.”

“But he was just plain rude! He didn’t have the right to be so rude to you, and he acted as if you were inferior to him.”

“Actually, he kind of did. But still, it was I who made the mistake, and not him.”

“But mom, I know for a fact that you would never be rude to people, even if you were that rude stranger.”

“Well, everybody is different, and no two humans are the same.”

“Even identical twins?”

“Of course, they may look the same, but they all have different and unique personalities and fingerprints. So, we have to understand and appreciate that a man’s personality and language may be different.”

“Fine…”

I understood my mom almost the whole time, but I didn’t get the part about apologizing in person and not by some kind of note or letter. But my mom said that I’ll understand when I get in a situation like this one. I mean, I’m pretty sure that no second grader will ever understand, but even me, a grade 2 girl, knows that one shouldn’t act as if he’s superior to another person just because the other person made a tiny mistake that doesn’t even really matter. I thought that all humans were equal and no one was inferior or superior to one another. But that stranger acted as if he was superior to my mom, when he wasn’t. Maybe, my understanding of equality was not the same as what all the other humans around the world think.

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