My little sister who lives outside Paris had been single for a while. (I did not ask her if she had been celibate; I am a gentleman.) Then a very nice eligible man in her age range entered here life. Then, that good man became her companion. (I have to make a digression here. The word “companion” is one of the nicest words in the English language. It comes from the French and it means literally: “One with whom you share your bread.”)
Anyway, after not so long, the companion was carried off by a massive heart attack. Perhaps to console her heart, my little sister took her grown son for a short trip to New York City. They went to the Ground Zero memorial, of course.
Long after they came out, at the hotel, my sister discovered she did not have her favorite silver bracelet. The bracelet was the last little gift from her companion who had passed away. She figured she may have forgotten it in the box where you place your metal valuables before going through the security gate at the Ground Zero memorial. She does not know English well and she and her son were flying back to Paris the next morning early anyway. So, there wasn’t much she could do.
Back in Paris, she mourned for several days. Then, finally, she did the obvious and she emailed her big brother, the American who lives in California, for help. I agreed of course, but I advised her not to be optimistic. I did not see how a public site that processes thousands of visitors each day could collect and classify what must be hundreds of lost objects daily. To be even more honest, I did not see in my mind’s eye how I could, at a distance, motivate any employee there to even try to look for that particular bracelet. I would have put the odds of finding it at only slightly better than winning the California lottery. (I have a friend, a statistician, who says the odds of winning the California lottery are the same whether you buy a ticket or not!)
I am a man of my word. If I promise you a punch in the nose the next time you do that, you can be sure I will try. So, late on a Sunday night, without enthusiasm, I supplied the 9/11 Memorial and Museum the abundant details of the description of her bracelet my sister had provided by email. I let her know I had done it and recommend again that she not get her hopes up.
Only a few hours later, I got up and, my first cup of coffee in hand, distractedly, I checked my Gmail. There was the loveliest, kindest note from a Mr Fernandez, the Security Account Manager at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum, telling me that he had my sister’s bracelet. Mr Fernandez is a kind, prompt, devoted man to be sure. But I think he was much helped in his search by one special feature of the attractive but ordinary bracelet. My little sister’s companion had used a sharp home tool to engrave himself on the inside of the bracelet, a little heart and my sister’s first name.