“Every time you do a good deed you shine the light a little farther into the dark. And the thing is when you’re gone that light is going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back.”
― Charles de Lint
Yesterday, I applied for my Dutch driver’s license here in the Netherlands. It’s a simple process where I had to submit my Indian driver’s license. When the personnel at the Dutch Gemeente (the Dutch word for a municipality) were scrutinizing my Indian license, I was taken back to a memory from ten years ago.
It made me grateful because if not for that moment, the current moment would not have been possible. Even if it were, it definitely would have some bitter memories rather than a pleasant one.
Back in 2012, I was studying in a city away from my hometown. I used to visit my parents frequently, almost every weekend. These travels were undertaken via train. During one such journey, I happened to accidentally drop my driver’s license in the loo. I had kept it in my back pocket instead of in my wallet because it worked as a proof of identity to show the ticket checker when he came around for checking our tickets.
After the checking was done, I forgot to keep the license back in my wallet or at least in my hand luggage.
When nature’s call came, I was conveniently oblivious that the license was still in my back pocket and rushed to the nearest loo.
It must have fallen out of my pocket during my time inside the toilet and I was blissfully unaware of the mishap until it was too late.
I realized the license was missing only after reaching home when I needed it for something else. In a state of panic, I searched for it in all my pockets and my luggage, but of course, it was all in vain.
The next day, I was prepared to apply for a new one by registering a loss or theft. But before I could do that, something which was nothing short of a miracle happened.
We weren’t staying at the address mentioned on my license anymore. But my father got a call from the security of that apartment complex informing him that somebody had dropped off my license with them. My father was out at the time and later picked it up before returning home and handing it over to me.
To say that I was shocked would be an understatement. In my naivety, I inquired how he got a replacement so soon and my father rolled his eyes as he went on to tell me what had happened. From shock, my feelings went to gratefulness.
You see, I wasn’t used to such random kindness, especially from strangers. In India, it is very common for such proofs of identity to be misused and that’s why we had to hurry with applying for a replacement.
I asked my father and even the security at our own residence about the identity of the person who had saved me so much trouble. I just wanted to thank the person for being so kind. But neither my father nor the security person knew who they were. They had simply dropped off the license and went away.
The episode was soon forgotten and it came back to me yesterday because of obvious reasons. It made me grateful again.
I never came to know who that person was. But what they did restored my faith in humanity.
I’m writing this today, hoping that this story reaches them somehow and they know just how their small act touched my life in so many ways.
This incident taught me:
We need to be always careful and vigilant about handling important documents.
Despite all the negativity and acts of those around us that make us question humanity, there are many who help us believe that goodness and kind people exist.
If and whenever I can, I must help out someone in need, in whatever capacity I can.
Thank you for reading.