Only In Jerusalem: The Beggar On The Corner
From Avi Noam Taub on Facebook:
This man begs for spare change at the corner of Ben Yehuda and King George in the center of town in Jerusalem. I’ve seen him there for years. Today I gave him a smile as I waited to cross the street to get where I was going. He calls to me and says hey, do you read English? I say yes, I do. He shows me a box, clearly containing a brand new laptop. Written on the side are the words “Lenovo.” He tells me he found this box on the street, saw it fall off a push-cart from across the ways from a man bringing a few items from the warehouse to his store. He called out, but the man didn’t hear him. He thought it was just some cardboard that fell and that’s why the man didn’t care and left it on the ground. He keeps his eye on this cardboard across the street; it doesn’t move on a windy. He sees someone else pick up the box and calls out to him hey, that’s mine! Who do you think you are? Give me back my box!
Anyways, so there he is; a beggar with a brand new Lenovo laptop computer and he asks me if I can read what it is. He tells me, please be my messenger. Please help me find to which store this computer belongs, but don’t tell the store the serial number! I know of three computer stores in the area so I take a picture of the serial number and I’m on my way. I walk into the first store and say hey, can I ask you a strange question? Did you lose a computer today? He says he doesn’t know, they get lots of stock in. He asks for the serial number. I say okay, but you have to show me concrete proof that it’s yours before I tell you anything else. He plugs in the number, it’s not his. I ask him where do you think it came from and how much is it worth? He says try the store around the corner (he mentions two) and he says it’s worth about $1,400.
I go to the next store and ask hey, did you lose a computer today? He says oh my God, I did! It fell off this pushcart when I was bringing in inventory I received today and I’m going to have to pay for this computer myself now. I say to him; really? Tell me, what’s the serial number? He pulls up the inventory list and sure enough, the numbers match perfectly. I tell him wait just a minute.
I go back to this righteous fellow with a smile, and he is smiling back as bright as the sun. I walk with him to the store and he tells the story and returns the brand new computer. He refuses to take any money as a reward from the store employee. He is grateful to have done the mitzvah of “hashavat aveidah” (returning a lost object), a commandment from the Torah. The store employee puts the money in my hands and tells me to stuff it in his bag when he’s not looking and say it’s from me.
Our righteous friend returns to his corner and continues, as if nothing happened. He tells me he’s returned about 20 such valuable items through his history sitting at his spot.
So, my friends, next time you’re at King George and Hillel Street at the top of Ben Yehuda, know that this man is truly righteous, and give him your spare change with a bright beautiful smile. How many of us in such dire straits go to such an extent to return a $1,400 computer?
Only in Jerusalem.