I settled in at home, thankful that my parents had arrived safely, but also tired from traveling back and forth. I had a little bit more bones study I needed to finish up (because more exams! yay!), so I began pulling out pictures I had taken at the lab along with my notes. Then I got a facebook call from my parents (incidentally, facebook’s call option is probably the best way we communicate across oceans. It has better fidelity than skype or any of the google call services, and none of the lag that facetime experiences).
Long story short, my mother left her iPad in the back of a cab.
We began making calls and trying to track down the cabbie, but it was long gone, and none of us remembered the name of the cabbie, or even the vehicle he was driving. My mother began to mourn her iPad as being lost forever, but we told her not to give up hope; this was Ireland, after all.
The next morning, my phone had a notice that it could not back itself up to our server. I logged on and noticed that someone had manually logged on and backed up my mother’s information and photos. Clearly someone had found it. The next question was, would they get in touch with us? I was a bit concerned with that. My father had gotten my mother’s iPad engraved when he purchased it, but only with her U.S. cell phone number, and with no indication of a country code.
Not long after, my mum got an email. Her email always downloaded on her iPad, of course, but being internet based, she could also log in and check it from a computer. A woman from Dublin had found my mum’s iPad, and had hazzarded a guess that she might check her email elsewhere, and thus had emailed her; she was right. She and my mother emailed back and forth once or twice, then she took up texting with me (since I had an Irish phone number). She had been in the area visiting family, but had taken the iPad back to Dublin with her, and originally told my mother she could meet with her when she came back through Dublin. Once she found out I was living in Cork, she asked for my address, then texted me to inform me she had popped it in the mail, just like that.
She did not want money for finding it, or anything else. A thank you was enough. I shared with my parents what one Irish student had first told me when I arrived:
“Sure, you might be running home because your dog’s on fire, but if someone asks you where the Shandon Bells are, you’ll stop what your doin’ and take them there, then go put your dog out.”
None of us are sure how the dog survives such an ordeal, but it sums up the Irish people: they are some of the kindest people you’ll ever meet, though they aren’t afraid to tell you when you’re doing something wrong or being downright rude. But until you show them you’re a not nice person, they’ll always treat you with the kindness they might like themselves. I think this is one of the major differences between the United States and Ireland (and, I would hazard, the U.S. and Europe); people are kind and trusting. If a stranger starts talking to an Irishman, they listen and try to help; if a stranger starts talking to someone from the U.S., they immediately try to figure out how the stranger is trying to swindle them or take advantage of them. I would say, too bad we can’t be more Irish, but then, often strangers are trying to take advantage of you.
Too bad all American strangers can’t be more Irish.