As I walked around the corner into Newmarket train station this evening, I noticed this Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 lying on the ground. I suspected it might belong to the bloke who had just ridden past me on a bicycle.
I managed to catch up with him in the station when he stopped to buy a ticket.
"Chap I suspect I have found something which belongs to you," I stated flatly, conscious of the universal proscription against addressing other passengers on public transport. "Could you check your belongings to see if something is missing and if so, tell me what that something is?"
The cyclist gave his pockets a once-over, and declared nothing missing. His attitude was uncompromising.
Hostile, even aggressive.
"Righto," I placated, thinking to myself that his attitude was just reward for my attempt at being a good Samaritan. "Sorry to bother you."
When I got home I examined the tablet. The only identifying information I could find was an email reminder about an overdue library book, which included a bloke's name and a landline number. I called the number, he wasn't home, so I left a message for him to call me, explaining I suspected I had found something which belonged to him which I would return if he could identify.
Ten minutes later the owner of the tablet called me back. Lo and behold, it was the cyclist. I felt rather smug about this, given his earlier attitude. I arranged for him to come to my work tomorrow to collect his tablet.
He wrote the details down as I spelled them out over the phone.
V.. e.. c.. t.. o.. r.
C.. a.. r.. l.. t.. o.. n.. G.. o.. r.. e.. R.. o.. a.. d.
S.. i.. m.. o.. n.. A.. n.. d.. e.. r.. s.. o.. n.
It took five excruciating minutes for me to say and for him to transcribe. I had to give him each letter individually and repeat myself often, as he continually struggled, unable to cope with whole words or multiple letters at a time.
I realised almost immediately this chap was intellectually impaired, a fact I hadn't observed during our brief encounter. I surmised that his belligerent attitude at the train station was purely a defence mechanism, a survival strategy adopted to avoid exploitation by all the people smarter than him in an adversarial world.
A little too dumb to function, smart enough to know people can be inclined to fuck you over if afforded the opportunity.
Not me little brother, I'm a stranger who went out of my way to do right by you.
But on reflection, I hope my altruism doesn't dissuade you from your approach to life. On balance I reckon you've extrapolated from your experiences to reach the correct conclusion: in your circumstance you're better off expecting the worst from people.
-SRA. Auckland, 24/ix 2014.