Cross-continental goodwill

This is a tale of generosity and kindness.

A few weeks ago, on a Saturday morning, usually spent having a lazy breakfast and having fun with the kids, I started getting a number of notifications from the same name on various social media platforms. On a weekend such notifications don’t really grab my attention. Getting the same name on several platforms, however, was unusual.

Then, those notifications turned insistant, and showed unsolicited messages from that same name through those platforms. The message read something along the lines of “Please get in touch with me I’ve got all your credit cards!” with a Senegalese phone number. It was unusual and I have to admit that my thoughts wandered to those emails about millions of dollars of lost inheritance coming from Nigeria. Especially because nothing had happened to my credit cards and last time I was in Dakar was over 6 years ago.

Nonetheless, this nagged at me. I asked my husband. He was definitely in weekend mode and he discouraged me from replying.

But I couldn’t let it go. This person owns a company based in Dakar that proclaims ethics as its main value. All the social media profiles looked legit too: the accounts had been around for a few years, etc. Sure, social media accounts can be hacked, so to make sure, I searched online for this possible new “scam format”. Usually if you come across something fishy and search for it, if it is a scam, it will have happened to someone else and it will be documented.

I found nothing so I decided to reply and ask for a photo of my alleged credit cards. As soon as I had said ‘Hi’ and before I even asked for a photo, I received a photo of an ID. It wasn’t mine as expected, but it was that of a relative of mine who has a very similar name to me! She lives in the US, this ID matched where she lives and I know that she travels to Africa regularly.

We exchanged a few messages. Someone had come across a discarded wallet and given it to this person who had taken the time to find the owner of the cards and IDs. I have a bigger online presence than my relative, so he came across my social media accounts. My relative and I look similar enough for him to think it was me on the IDs. He took the time to reach out to me and to send me all those messages. It must have taken him hours!

I reached out to my relative and she immediately replied. She was indeed in Dakar, and her wallet had been stolen the evening before. I gave her this person’s phone number and a few hours later, she was reunited with her wallet. To make this even better, it was the day after her birthday too!

Clearly this business founder lives by the ethics his business is articulated around!

It is so wonderful to come across true authentic empathy and kindness like this, and I almost feel like apologizing for ‘investigating’ this person so much before replying. I’m glad I didn’t dismiss the message though — it would have been sad to dismiss his messages on distust only.

In this age of the internet, there are still pockets of the promised magic of the internet that was heralded in its early days: the internet is still bringing people together, in this case, between Senegal, South Africa and the US!

This episode really made my day, and probably even more for my relative!

So if you have read this far and want to support this person’s business here is his website and his truly beautiful products: I know what I’m asking my husband for Christmas… ;-)