Editor’s Notes


Sometimes the good guys show up right away, and sometimes they take a little longer.

By Amy Braverman Puma
Photography by Erick Delgado

Editor's Notes

She called my home around 11 p.m., distraught. “My bag’s gone,” she said. At a Chicago Blackhawks game after work that night, my co-worker had left her seat, bag underneath, for only a few minutes, and when she returned, the sack was missing. Inside were her work laptop, her digital recorder, and her notes for a story. She waited at the lost-and-found to no avail, calling the next day and the next. The bag didn’t show up.

She could carry on with work, thanks to an office loaner computer and the fact that we save our files on servers. Still, she agonized over the loss. “That bag is always attached to me,” she said. Why had she left it this one time? 

The episode occurred only a few weeks after another Magazine editor dealt with a theft—an attempted one, anyway. She was walking toward the new wing of the Art Institute for a lunch meeting when a man pushed her down, grabbed her purse, and fled. She yelled for help, and a few tourists chased him. The mugger ran down a stairwell and, my colleague thought, to his escape through a parking-garage door.

But the door turned out to be locked, and he was trapped. The tourists called 911, and within minutes park, bike, and squad-car cops showed up and nabbed him. After a few hours at the station, the editor had her bag back—plus her cell, her wallet, her keys.

Despite some scrapes and bruises, she and her possessions were all right. And our office was amazed by her action-movie tale: the push, the scream, the chase, the locked door, the prevailing of justice. What hit me most were the tourists who ran after the guy and then stood guard atop the stairwell. What if the man had a gun? They didn’t seem to think but simply acted quickly to help. They were heroes.

My other co-worker’s story didn’t seem to have heroes. She couldn’t even claim much drama—just an uncharacteristic oversight and a missing computer bag. Despite the loaner until a new laptop arrived, and no real work loss, she remained inconsolable.

Then, about a week afterward, she called me again at home, this time from the office. “Someone just mailed me my bag,” she announced, “with everything in it.” Turned out a St. Xavier University student had seen her bag, thought she had left the United Center without it, and taken it home. He hadn’t been able to reach her by phone, he scribbled in a short note on yellow notebook paper, so he finally paid to ship it to the office.

The editor called him at the suburban guitar store where he works. He seems like a nice kid, she says, and because he’s a Blackhawks season-ticket holder, she has some ideas for a thank-you gift.

Hero materialized, our faith in humanity is, at least for now, restored.