To the really solid, upstanding individual who broke into my car this weekend:
Hey, you. Good old you. How ya feelin? Is your arm sore, from that rock you hurled through my car window? Any cuts or scrapes from kneeling in glass shards as you rifled through my glove compartment? Did you pull any muscles lifting my junk out of the back seat? Any pinky toe blisters from the shoes you used to run away?
How’s your conscience, knowing that you pulled this crap ten steps away from a preschool?
No matter. I hope this letter finds you in good health. I’ve known a wayward soul or two in my time, and I know there’s probably more to your story than throwing rocks through windows.
Maybe you’re a teenager and it was a dare, and you’re just trying to fit in with the wrong crowd. Maybe you’re a single dad just trying to provide for your family the only way you know how (after all, the Notorious B.I.G. dedicated his Ready to Die album to “all the people that lived above the buildings that I was hustling in front of, that called the police on me – when I was just trying to make some money to feed my daughter.”) Maybe you’re struggling with a crippling addiction, and it’s taken hold of your life so entirely that you don’t even realize what you’re doing anymore.
Whatever the case, it is my sincerest hope that you’ll straighten up and fly right before it’s too late.
In the meantime, though, I’m going to offer you some unsolicited advice. Businessperson to unethical businessperson.
First of all, I’m curious how you landed on my car as an ideal target. I drive a 2007 Toyota Yaris that hasn’t been washed since the last olympics. I literally go WAY out of my way every day to park a half a mile away from work just because parking is free there. And my car’s cleanliness is the biggest embarrassment of my life, to the point that I used to have nightmares about giving my boss a ride somewhere and him finally becoming privy to what a disgusting creature I am. My ex boyfriend lovingly nicknamed my vehicle “the garbage disposal.”
And you thought – hey I know, I’ll just go ahead and bypass these BMWs and Lexuses scattered around the PAID parking spots of Portland and go to the cheapskate neighborhood instead. Look there! A dirty, decade-old car full to the brim with empty Gatorade bottles, chip wrappers, and parking tickets? JACKPOT!
How long did it take you to figure out that I’m just as broke as your sorry ass?
…30 seconds? A minute, maybe?
Then, I imagine you grabbed the only item of potential value you could find, a box of random documents, and tore out of there.
Just really poor choices, all around dude. Take a minute to reevaluate your life.
But this story isn’t about my car getting broken into. Let me tell you a better story about
Superman a bearded guy named Ryan.
Mr. Loser Rock Thrower didn’t make it far with my box-o-documents before ditching them around a corner. There they sat, for who knows how long, until Bearded Ryan came across them while walking his dog. He curiously nudged one of the envelopes open with his toe, and my passport went skidding across the sidewalk.
Alarmed, he picked up the box and the remaining documents and brought them home.
…Where he proceeded to go all storybook hero and track me down Liam Neeson style.
I’m admittedly filling in holes here, but here’s the story as I understand it.
Get this, you guys: When he got home, Bearded Ryan did a Google search for “Mary Wittbrodt” which yielded about thirty thousand results (there are a lot of Marys in my family), but he was still somehow able to track down my dad’s old company in San Diego. He called them, and they told him my dad had retired, but he still somehow obtained his contact info. He called my parents’ house but they were out of town, so he left a message.
This would ALREADY have been way above and beyond what any average human being would consider going through in a situation like this. Hitting a road block (like my parents’ voicemail) would have been completely rational justification for calling the search quits.
But did he call it quits? EFF no, this is Bearded Ryan we’re talking about!
He saw on my college transcript that I go by the nickname “Susie” (BINGO) and then started his search all over again with that name instead. Lo and behold, he found me through my company’s website – which is how I got a call from our confused receptionist at around 11:30 this morning.
“Hi… Susie? I’m sorry to bother you, but I figured you’d want to take this call. I’ve got a man named Ryan on the phone who says he was walking his dog and found your passport…”
Minutes later, I was at the scene of the crime, surveying the damage and broken glass… when Bearded Ryan called out behind me, appearing like the angel Gabriel with documents in-hand.
If my life were a movie, this would be the part where that blossoming romance riff would play (you know the one I’m talking about, the music the Sims always made out to), and we would run into each others’ arms and live happily ever after and have literally THE BEST “how we met” story of all time.
But because this is real life, and I am real awkward Susie, that’s not exactly how it went down. We gathered the papers together, most of them smeared with rain, while I kept thanking him over and over again (Bearded Ryan, how do I thank thee? Let me count the ways…). The extent of our conversation was him giving me some rock-solid advice for how to avoid identity theft now that Mr. Loser Rock Thrower probably has all my information. I asked him if there was anything I could do to repay him and he said, repeatedly, “I’m just glad I found you.”
Then we shook hands (I think? It’s all a blur to me now…) and he rode off into the sunset while I stood there gaping like a goldfish.
A few hours later, my parents got home and heard Bearded Ryan’s concerned message – and promptly called their daughter, who was (regrettably) in a meeting.
Put yourself in my parents’ shoes for a moment – just returning from a vacation, 1,000 miles away from their eldest daughter who isn’t answering her phone, and a message on the answering machine about some stranger finding her passport on the street.
Yeah, they might have panicked a bit.
But have no fear, everyone, because Bearded Ryan came to the rescue again. My parents called the number he left and had a nice, long, buddy-buddy chat. He assured them that their daughter was, in fact, safe – and filled them in on some of the finer details of my unfortunate predicament.
When I finally got their frantic voicemail a little while later, I called them back immediately thinking I would have to talk them out of total hysteria. But to my surprise, they were cool as cucumbers – just wanting to talk insurance logistics and to scold me, again, for not renewing my AAA membership.
Damn you, Bearded Ryan, you’ve done it again.
My conscience still feels totally out of balance about the fact that I completely failed to express my gratitude in any tangible way. I mean, the guy talked to my dad’s old employer from like seven years ago halfway across the country. There aren’t even enough italics in the world to convey the lengths he went to… just to return a passport to an idiot girl who was stupid enough to leave sensitive documents unattended in her car in a sketchy part of town. And then, to top it off, he talked my parents off the veritable ledge of absolute terror while I jabbered away, blissfully ignorant in a work meeting.
I’m tempted to go on a similar Liam Neeson-type scavenger hunt to track him down… but all I know is (1) his name is Ryan, (2) he has a beard, (3) he owns a dog, and (4) he lives within reasonable proximity to my work.
Which basically narrows it down to, oh, a third of the male population in Portland.
Bearded Ryan, if you’re out there, thank you. And also…
I love you
Let’s get married
And have upstanding-citizen babiesLet me buy you a drink!