The kindness of strangers

I lost my kilt pin last month at the Stone Mountain Highland Games.

This happened at some point during the Parade of Tartans, when I marched with my Fergusson family and about 100 other Scottish clans and families in front of thousands of spectators.  The clasp must have caught on something and sprung loose, and the pin slipped free of the fabric and vanished under the feet of the masses.  I didn’t realize it until we were back at the tent.  David and I went back to look for it but it was hopeless.  Far too large a space, still too many people wandering around, too tiny of a pin.


My Mom gave me that pin when I was elected Regional Vice-President of Clan Fergusson.  It’s not super expensive, nor even an heirloom, but it means something very special to me.

I was crushed.  When we got home that night, and without any expectations of ever recovering my brooch, I sent a message to the webmaster of the Stone Mountain Games website and asked if he could connect me to the organization’s Lost and Found.  I described the pin and gave my contact information.

Three weeks later, a lovely lady from the Games Administration – Mrs. Grey – called me and asked me to describe my pin.  “It’s gold, a thistle, with a purple stone,” I replied.

“Can you tell me about the ribbon?” She asked.

“Ribbon?” I was perplexed.  “Huh? Oh wait, there’s a snip of tartan ribbon in the pin to represent my husband’s clan, the Douglasses.”

That was the identifier she was looking for.  She took down my address and said she’d send it on.  Today, I opened the mail to find an envelope containing my kilt pin, none the worse for its journey back to me.

Thank you, Mrs. Grey, from the bottom of my heart and my thanks also to that kind stranger, who picked up the pin and turned it in to Lost and Found, knowing it meant something to someone.

“I’m reminded that no matter how hard we try, nothing we do is in a vacuum.”
Mike McIntyre, The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America




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