So I got a call from my mother this morning. She was distraught because she had gone to Arlington, but when she got back to her car her keys were missing. They weren’t in her purse, or visibly in her car, or anywhere on the pavement that she could see. She left a note on the car (saying "lost keys – please don’t ticket") and called me, and I picked her up and took her back home.
Later, when she went back with my dad to look again for the keys, someone had found them and placed them on the windshield on top of the note. Neither the person who found the keys, nor anyone who walked by the car and noticed that the keys were sitting there, drove the car away. And our "good samaritan," who not only took the trouble to retrieve the keys from wherever they were but also to figure out which car they belonged to, did not leave a name or number so that we could thank him or her in person. Just an anonymous good deed.
So to our mystery good samaritan: thank you. Relatively small but truly thoughtful deeds like this one do tend to strengthen my sense that – despite what one reads in the papers on many days – most people really are decent sorts.