Book in my hand, my morning began as usual, riding the bus to my job. It had a black hard cover, having removed the colorful dust cover before reading it for the fifth time.
The air brakes hissed as they compressed at each stop, people entering and exiting the bus. It always took me time to travel from home to work, and vice versa.
As I continued to read, a young woman in casual clothing sat beside me. I shifted a bit to the right, giving her more room, pushing myself to the cold window.
She didn't appear to notice me, scrolling through the feed on her phone. I shrugged it off, resuming my page.
Not many people sat next to me, the bus almost always spacious at the times I rode. I didn't mind, liking my personal space, but was willing to share if required.
The woman squirmed in her seat a bit, glancing over her shoulder every few minutes. I checked several times to see what might be behinds us, but found nothing suspicious.
Resting on her lap, her pink purse was as full as any bag could be without exploding. Now that would be a sight. But I'd rather witnessed that from afar.
I glanced out the window, trees dominating my sight. I was still too far to walk without being late to work. Guess I'd deal with the fidgeting, ignoring the slight jab of her elbow.
The bus stopped, the woman rushing out. Something fell out of her purse, but she'd disappeared before I could tell her, seeing it was a white envelope.
As the bus moved, I reached over and picked up the envelope, examining it. Money was clearly inside, but no name or address for me to find the owner.
Exiting the bus at my stop, I walked to work, slipping both my book and the envelope into my bag. Maybe I could figure out who the woman was during my breaks, or at least forget about it for a few hours.
It was to no avail.
Riding the bus home, I was on the lookout for the woman, lifting my gaze whenever a passenger boarded. I didn't see her again though.
Exiting the bus, I rushed to my house, quickly opening the envelope. Hundred dollar bills fell onto the floor, me counting as I collected them. I had at least ten thousand dollars.
I noticed a note inside the envelope, pulling it out to read.
This is for whoever finds it.
Don't bother trying to find me, I most likely already left town. Since I have no use for it anymore, I left the money on purpose, even if looked like an accident.
Hope it helps you.
I rubbed my face, unsure what to do. Was this money now mine? I placed it on my kitchen table, turning the tv on and made dinner.
On one hand, it would help me pay off my debts and keep my apartment. My minimum wage job was not cut out for that task.
However, whenever I thought about borrowing money, my stomach knotted up and my heart raced. I'd always paid me way through life, never asking my friends or family for money, nor did I take out a loan from the bank.
I needed to mull this over
Sleeping on it, I decided to deposit the money into my account. The woman hadn't even slowed when she'd left the bus. Maybe she'd sneakily pulled the envelope out when I wasn't watching.
Taking the bus, I strode into the bank, envelope in hand. I went to the desk, quickly depositing it, my heart thudded fast, hands shaking once I was outside.
What to do first? Many possibilities filled my brain. Of course I wanted to spurge on something frivolous, like everyone. I knew that wouldn't help me in the long run.
I decided to catch up on all my bills, a weight lifted from my shoulders. Then I paid off all of my debt, putting the rest into my savings, grinning when it was all done.
If I had the chance someday, I'd repeat her actions, although I would make it more intentional than she, because you had to pay kindness forward, no matter what.
The world depended on it.