My wife called me at work one morning and asked, “Is your station doing a toy drive?”
When I said, “No!” she said she wondered because there was a bicycle and an electronic game on the front porch of out palatial estate.
I said I’d look into it when I got home.
What I found was a 12 inch girl’s pink Huffy bike with training wheels and a boxed electronic game.
Both items were clearly brand new.
But we didn’t order either one.
I figured the items were delivered by accident to our address.
There was nothing to indicate where the items were purchased.
No familiar labels or tags or shopping bags.
But there was a 3 inch square sticker on both items that indicated a customer name.
There were customer numbers and a lengthy purchase order number but again, no indication where these items came from.
I thought the items might have been delivered to the wrong cul-de-sac since there’s a “North” one and a “South” one (where we reside).
Again, lacking any idea these toys were purchased, I did a little thinking and figured it was likely one of 3 retailers in our area.
I decided to call the one located closest to our address.
Have you tried to contact any businesses recently?
Phones ring forever or go to a directory and you have to match your concern with the 5 or so they list.
Most don’t have a “Items-I-didn’t-order-were-delivered-to-my house-by-mistake” extension.
I tried 5 different numbers and all I got was a ringing phone that was never answered.
So, I went on-line to the dot com version of this company and after meandering through the website, I found a number that might help.
I dioaled it and on the 5th ring, my call was answered.
He said his name was “Christopher” but he sounded as much as a “Christopher” as I sound like a “Punjab”.
I explained my predicament to him and said I wasn’t even sure if these items were from his company.
He advised me to keep the items and I wouldn’t be charged.
I told him I had little need for an electronic game and even less for a little girl’s pink bicycle.
I asked “Christopher” if he could run the multi-digit purchase order number through his computer to determine if the items were actually purchased at one of his company’s stores.
About 4 minutes later, “Christopher” came back on the line and said the items were, in fact, from his company.
So, I called back to the store nearest me, thinking someone who might live in this area most likely would shop at that location.
This time, my phone call was answered.
I explained the predicament we were in and I wondered if he might be able to reconnect with the person who placed this order, the mysterious “A. Hust”.
He explained that his company has used some “independent” delivery people and they’ve had a few foul-ups like this before.
I asked him if I could bring the bike and game to his store, hoping could locate whoever placed the order and let them know they could pick it up.
He said that would work.
So, I put the “A. Hust” pink bicycle and the game in the back of my vehicle and went to the store.
The woman in Customer Service was very understanding and eventually I met the guy I talk to on the phone (Brad) and one of his co-workers.
She punched the purchase order numbers in her computer and within moments, she had a phone number for that mysterious customer, “A. Hust”.
After receiving assurances that “A. Hust” would be contacted, I left feeling that the 90 minutes I had spent on this mission were worth it.
On the way home I felt relieved that a little girl who might be expecting a shiny, new, pink bike and possibly a game will probably be pretty happy to receive the gifts.
But, I was also troubled.
I had no idea who “A. Hust” was.
You see, I grew up in a time that if I had the first initial and first 4 letters of the last name of someone in my neighborhood, I probably knew who that was.
Today, though, I only know the names of two of my neighbors.
“A. Hust” was not one of them.
How’d that happen?
When we first moved to this neighborhood, we had a summer picnic one year and neighbors brought covered dishes, treats and lawn chairs and we shared a meal and conversation.
Not any more.
I wave at my neighbors but if you offered me a million dollars to name most of them, I couldn’t do it.
That bothers me.
Perhaps that’s not a unique problem in America today.
Maybe we don’t get along like we used to because we’re all strangers.
And, this was going on long before COVID-19 and “proper social distancing” became such a part of our lives.
I hope “A. Hust” got the gifts and that little girl is happy.
Just wish I might have known you better “A. Hust”.