Everybody knows that the world is run by greed and self preservation. Just turn on any television, radio, or computer and reports of corrupt politicians, corporate greed, and people killing each other over the smallest trinkets flood into the veins of our everyday lives. The days when one could count on the kindness of strangers seems to be behind us, doomed to the hope chests of our memories forever.
Now, with the digital age completely enveloping every aspect of our lives, reports of people doing something overly kind for another human being is rarer that a two dollar bill. I am not talking about when you helped an old lady across the street yesterday or carried groceries in the house for your neighbor. I am referring to those stories you would hear when you were younger; the stories of neighbors getting together and gathering food for one of their own, or an anonymous stranger giving someone down on their luck a couple hundred dollars. This is why when I fell right into the receiving end of one of these stories, I was so surprised I still do not believe it.
One day, while I was surfing the social media site Reddit.com, a conversation about zombie books and stories came up. I have an obsession with zombies and the undead, so I gladly jumped right in. During this conversation, another Reddit user brought up a series that I had not heard of yet. This user goes by the name Zelcron and does wish to reveal his true identity. After telling Zelcron that I would check out this series once I was able to afford a reader, he made an offer that just blew me away.
After finding out that I was also a struggling writer, Zelcron offered to give me his old Amazon Kindle 3 3G for free. You read that correctly. This complete stranger that I have known for less than five minutes at this point, just offered to give me his old Kindle 3 for free. Zelcron claimed that he had purchased this Kindle for himself, but then received a new Kindle Fire for the holidays. ‘I was keeping it around for battery life, but I don’t need it’
I figured this was some sort of scam. I thought and thought about it until there was smoke coming out of my ears, but I could not fathom any reason that this complete stranger would be lying. Reluctantly, I gave him my address. As I said, I could not think of any good reason why this person would be lying about this. Maybe he would come and try to rob or murder me; but with four people and a zoo in my house, that did not seem like the most realistic scenario. So I waited.
We stayed in touch here and there over the next few days. Zelcron informed he had mailed the Kindle 3 and that I should receive it shortly. If I told you that this transaction was not on my mind the whole time, I would be a liar-liar-pants-on-fire. I just kept twirling all of the possibilities around in my head, both the good and the bad. By the time the package arrived a couple days later, I had worked myself right into a mental tizzy about its contents. Even the package itself did nothing to subdue my paranoia.
Sitting on my couch was a Harley Davidson Footwear box, all taped up with white, USPS Priority Mail tape. My address was scribbled in sloppy handwriting across the label, which bears no return address. The box itself felt heavy in my hands; much heavier than I would expect an Amazon Kindle to feel.
The closest thing to me at this point was a nail file. I grabbed it and began to slowly open the tape on the box, kind of wincing while I did. When it seemed the coast was clear, I opened the Harley Davidson boot box to find a bunch of crumpled up papers. Mixed in these papers were some food items – can of chili, ramen noodles, and boxed noodles. That explains the weight, but where was the Kindle?
Buried deeper in the papers I find the Amazon Kindle 3, encased within a beautiful leather case. There is also a note enclosed in the box, informing me there are some books on there for me and to enjoy the Kindle. I have asked Zelcron what he wants in return or what I can do to say thank you and repay him.
Just pay it forward.