Some emails are just too awesome for words. Last Friday, the day my story ran about the woman who left her purse at a Tennessee airport, I got this message:
“What a very nice story about Jean Clemens losing her purse and her happy ending. You are a blessing to others by letting them know there is still goodness in our crazy world. Keep up the good job (your ministry reaches far).
“P.S. I LOVE Chippers!—Janet Foreman-Green”
I was a little confused about the “P.S.” until I looked at the attached photo of a box of Chippers with a thank-you note. Then it dawned on me. This is the woman who found the forgotten purse!
I had to share her version of the story with you.
“I took my mom to catch her plane back to Florida the day after Christmas.
“I found a seat in front of the gate with Mom’s wheelchair and set my purse in the empty seat beside me, which already had a purse sitting in the chair. Uh oh, someone left her purse. She’ll probably be right back.
“When no one came to claim the purse after 30 minutes, red flags and sirens went off in my head. I finally looked inside and saw the driver’s license of Jean Clemens from West Fargo, N.D. “I studied her face. Where is Jean Clemens? No one here looks like her.
“Forty-five minutes later, after getting my mom on her plane, I was able to concentrate on finding Jean. Opening her purse again, I found boarding passes and went to the ticket counter. They told me she’d already left Chattanooga. I had her cell phone, but it was locked.
“Think, Janet, figure it out. Find Jean! What if this is a ‘decoy’ purse, and I’m on hidden video? Is some celebrity gonna pop out with a camera crew? Why am I fidgety? Think, think!
“I know … Facebook! I’ll look on Facebook to see if Jean has an account. Yay, there she is, the second one listed.
“Jean had a few posts with pictures of her lovely family during her stay in Chattanooga. She had tagged family members who lived just a few miles away. Ta-dah!
“I decided to call her cousin, Mike, who interrupted me while I was saying, ‘My name is Janet, and you don’t know me but…’
” ‘You found a purse at the airport, didn’t you?’ he said. We halted the conversation so he could call Jean to reassure her before she boarded her next plane. Mike had already spoken with Jean during a layover in Atlanta, and she was frantic.
“Mike sent his son, Cam, to our house to retrieve Jean’s purse.
“I didn’t want Jean to experience that horrible feeling of having her possessions or identity stolen. It’s happened to me, and it’s something you never forget.
“Accidents happen, but they don’t always end badly. There are people like me who believe we should always do the right thing.”
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.