We all know that both good and evil live in the human heart, because we see varying amounts of each in the people and situations we encounter through the course of our lives.
What’s fascinating to me about this is how frequently we see both sides of the good-evil coin playing out in the same field at the same time. Think, for example, of the heroism witnessed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks or the bravery of heroes like Oskar Schlinder during the Holocaust.
Our family saw a real-world example of this last week when a modern-day hero showed up at my parents’ door in the uniform of a FedEx delivery man.
My folks are in their mid-eighties and still live in the old farmhouse where we grew up. For them, each day is a struggle to get by while finding joys where they can in their children and grandchildren.
So when my mother got an urgent early-morning call from her oldest granddaughter, saying she was had gotten herself in trouble while traveling in Miami and urgently needed bail money from her – and please, please do not tell her parents because she had never been in trouble before and they would be so upset – my mother was understandably shaken.
Soon thereafter, a woman claiming to be the bail bondsman got on the phone. In a very professional-sounding voice, she explained to my mother that her granddaughter had been in an accident with her rental car, without insurance, and was being held on $5,000 bail.
Given the delicate situation, the woman explained to my mother, the only way to get her granddaughter out of her predicament was by sending $5,000 in cash. If my mother was willing and able to help her granddaughter, a FedEx pickup would be arranged immediately.
Now, my mother has a heart of gold. She doesn’t surf the Internet and had never heard of the bail bond scammers that prey on the elderly. All she knew was that her granddaughter, my niece, really was a great girl who never did get in trouble but was in hot water now. She needed to find a way to help her.
So she drove over to her local bank branch and withdrew $5,000 in bills from her and my father’s meager savings. Then she put the bills into an envelope and waited for the FedEx man to show up.
All the while, the bonds woman continued to call the house to get a status on things. By this time, both my mother and father were nervous wrecks. The money, of course, was a concern. But the bigger concern was getting their dear sweet granddaughter out of the trouble she was in.
Later in the afternoon, the FedEx delivery man showed up at the door. When my mother showed him the envelope that she needed delivered to the address in Miami, he was suspicious.
He asked her what was in the envelope. My mother gave him the answer she had been told by the bondsman to give – it was paperwork, she said.
Paperwork, the FedEx guy said. The envelope seemed too thick for just paperwork. Was there anything else in there? Was there money in the envelope?
My mother said she was not supposed to tell him. At which point the driver knew what he was dealing with, having seen this scene before with his elderly customers.
He told my mother that he felt this was a scam and asked if he could speak with her granddaughter. My mother – who had doubts about the whole thing too, but was too frightened to say anything to anyone – gave him the number, which the FedEx guy promptly called. Much to my mother’s surprise, her granddaughter was not in Miami at all but at home, working out at the gym.
The FedEx man then spoke to my sister, who corroborated that her daughter had not been traveling. The police were then called to the house. The FedEx man stayed around to tell them what had happened. He even came back later in the day, after the police were gone, to check on my folks and make sure they were all right.
The scam was thwarted. All thanks to a quick-thinking delivery man.
My mother told us afterward that the entire time the FedEx guy was in their house talking through the situation, he never once touched the envelope of cash. He didn’t want that cash to leave my mother’s hands.
Pretty amazing, all in all. This is a guy whose performance is based on how many packages he picks up and delivers in the course of a day. He could have dealt with this as just another pickup, just another transaction in a real-time supply chain that prioritizes efficiency over humanity.
But he didn’t. He took the time out of his busy schedule to question something that didn’t smell right to him, and in the process saved our parents from losing $5,000 they can’t afford to lose.
Now that’s a hero.
Good and evil, all on the same day.
For good reasons, FedEx can’t reveal their delivery man’s full name. But we do know his first name is Nick.
So to Nick, from our entire family (and we have a big one), we would like to say: thank you.
Thank you for being so kind to our elderly parents. Thank you for taking the time to do the right thing.
As long as we have people like you, there is hope for this world we live in.