100 ATRO: #98 Telling someone they dropped something

In case you don’t know, “1000 ATRO” stands for “1000 Awesome Things Rip-Off,” an idea I, well, totally ripped off from this guy.

We’ve all been there.  Walking along, perhaps humming to yourself, when the person in front of you drops something on the street.  “Miss!” you shout.  “Ma’am!” or “Sir!”

“You dropped something!”

Sometimes it’s just a scarf or gloves.  But sometimes it’s much more valuable, like the time I saw a woman drop a wad of bills.  How could she not have noticed?

“Ma’am, ma’am!” I called.  “Is that your money?”

She looked aghast at the cash, then up at me gratefully.  “Thanks so much,” she said.

Or the old guy at the airport I witnessed dropping a key ring with what looked like every key in the universe.  “Sir!” I yelled.  “Is that yours?”

The same aghast look, the same gratefulness.

Just yesterday on the train back from my interview, I noticed a guy who had changed seats had left his wallet in his previous seat.  Thanking me, he shook his head.  What if I hadn’t noticed?  At least three people had walked and hadn’t seen it, or hadn’t bothered to tell him.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think I’m earning karmic points or something.  I just like having the excuse to break out of my shyness to shout across a crowded train station: “MISS, YOU DROPPED YOUR SWEATER!”

But what if they don’t hear you?  Do you take that extra step of picking up said dropped item, running up to the person, and handing it to them?

Why yes, you do.

Because wouldn’t you want someone to do that for you?


  1. Definitely yes. Last year I had just gone to the ATM and taken out like $100 and somehow it fell out of my pocket while I was walking down Madison Avenue and a young man picked it up and RAN down the street after me to return it. I was SO grateful and definitely always try to “pay it forward”

  2. I think you earn karma points for this. So many want to opt out of helping others that you did the right thing.

  3. It could have been me dropping that wad of cash. I’ve done that and thought exactly what you did.

    And yes, I do go after people to return things, too.