by Gail Maholick
As a member of Dream Come True, an organization that grants wishes to sick children, I was invited to be a chaperone for a group of young singers. The group, called Dream Kids, was invited to perform in Florida earlier this year.
The children in Dream Kids had already raised more than $40,000 in donations through their performances. In fact, they have been our biggest supporters since their group was formed.
These talented youngsters traveled to Florida to sing at Give Kids the World and Downtown Disney, where they impressed everyone with their talent, generous spirit and kindness, and I was there to cheer them on.
But I nearly missed the trip. At Philadelphia International Airport, I checked in quickly and went to my departure gate. When I realized I had forgotten to pack a small personal item, I went to a shop in the airport to buy a replacement.
Confusion turned to shock as I realized that my wallet, with my medical cards, driver’s license, theme park pass, two credit cards and $200 in cash were missing. In a panic, I ran back to the security checkpoint for help. All I had left was a boarding pass and $100 in theme park money. My trip would have to be canceled.
After calling my husband to have him pick me up, I had a second thought. I asked him to wait 30 minutes for another call, just in case someone turned in my wallet.
As I finished my call, a young man wearing a white shirt walked toward me and handed me my items. “I believe this is yours,” he said. I was dumbfounded. “I don’t know what to say but ‘thank you,'” I said, and I gave him a hug. He then walked away, disappearing into the crowd. I cried with relief.
When I opened my wallet, everything was intact, including my money. I didn’t even have a chance to give him a reward.
My rescuer must have seen me leave my wallet somewhere, then waited for me to come back looking for it. Nothing he was wearing suggested he worked for airport security; in fact, the security people were as surprised I was at how fast my wallet was returned.
The entire trip was marked with reminders of generosity. Give Kids the World is a special resort where wish-granting organizations send sick children stay while visiting central Florida attractions. Give Kids the World accepts 96 families each week, but it does not require them to pay. Their expenses are covered by charitable donations.
By saving my wallet for me, one young man at the Philadelphia airport saved the day. He could not have known why I was there, or what a difference his kindness made. While visiting Florida and ever since, I have made it my mission to remember and follow his example.