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The People's Voice: Kudos to the unmasked mystery man

Published: Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

Cross my heart, The People’s Voice soon will revert to its original format. Next weekend, in fact, you can hear from Samantha Ewen about what it’s like to be a technician in the male-dominated wind turbine industry.

It isn’t lost on me that this is the second consecutive installment in which the featured subject was not photographed and for which there wasn’t a corresponding podcast. Last week, you might have read about Curt Phillips, the man’s man who runs the Dixon Public Properties Department.

This week, you’re about to read about another person who’d rather remain anonymous.

Heck, I don’t even know his name. Likely never will. And that’s just how he likes it, methinks.

Upon my return from vacation, I got a tip about something special that happened last Thursday at Town & Country Family Restaurant in Dixon.

It seems a mom and her two kids had just finished lunch when she realized she didn’t have her wallet on her.

You know that feeling, don’t you? It’s the same feeling you get when you see red-and-blue lights in the rearview mirror, or when you get caught in a lie. All the blood rushes to your head, and it’s all you can do to not tremble.

Only this was an mistake. They happen.

Here’s the good news: So do random acts of kindness.

My tipster told me that the waitresses spent the next half-hour abuzz over the kind gentleman who picked up the tab. He even tried to tip, but the staff, clearly moved by his compassion, wouldn’t allow it.

Want even more warm-and-fuzzy news? The anonymous hero wasn’t alone. Another person also tried to pay the bill.

It seems like every few weeks, we get a tip on our Facebook page about one of these spirit-buoying experiences.

Admittedly, I’ve banged this drum before, having written about Mike Nerstheimer’s penchant for peeling dollar bills from his fold and giving them to children – after clearing it with mom and dad, that is.

I also wrote about a tear-jerking experience my wife and I had in the Quad Cities, where a parent of a deceased infant left a card with cash in it to be shared with a random customer. That turned out to be Kayla and I and, upon the mourning parent’s request, we enjoyed our coffee with that late little angel in our hearts, her parents in our thoughts.

So, if these things happen all the time, why am I writing about it? Because, even though events like these lift our spirits and reinforce our belief that humans are inherently good, here’s one of many problems with being human: We tend to move on. Life gets busy. There are bills to pay, and kids to pick up and drop off. It all gets spinning so fast that you might, say, forget your purse in the living room.

So no matter how warm or fuzzy stories like these are, their effects inevitably get a little colder and scratchier as life goes on.

My recommendation? Beyond cutting out this article or bookmarking this web page? (Even I’m above that sort of shameless self-promotion.)

Give it a try. Be that anonymous ray of sunshine. Who knows, ... maybe you won’t get your name in the paper. Just rumblings of your legend.

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