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Carly: A Good News Story - For A Change

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Last month, I drove to a supermarket in town to buy some food. I did my shopping, using a granny trolley to try and ensure I would have enough energy to walk around the shop.

I was ruddy knackered by the time I arrived at the till. I was hot and sweaty with blurry vision and had one of my Multiple Sclerosis Brain Fart Moments. I arrived at where I thought I had parked the car on the sixth floor of the car park.

No car there. Damn it. I walked to the fifth floor with my heavy rucksack on my sweaty back. No car there either. Hang on. Was I even in the right car park?

The heat had turned me into the bunny on the Energizer adverts - the rubbish rival bunny running out of energy, that is. I decided I would put the rucksack containing my shopping down and leave it near the sixth floor stairwell, where I would definitely find it again. I'd locate the car and drive back to pick up the shopping. Job done.

Some might say I'm being overly dramatic here, but it was just like that scene from Touching The Void. I felt like I was leaving my climbing partner behind.

I was hot, confused and had wobbly legs. I decided the best thing I could do was to get a taxi, leave the car and the shopping, and get myself home so I could climb into an ice-cold bath.

I stayed submerged for about 30 minutes, the water covering my head in an attempt to cool my heat-frazzled brain. I had my lips poking just above the water so I could breathe. If I had a straw I probably would have completely immersed my head.

The gods were smiling on me that day

I drank a litre of ice water, had a power nap and got a taxi back to collect the car and my shopping. Feeling refreshed, I discovered that I had indeed parked in the car park on the sixth floor, but that after I had returned I had somehow made a wrong turn and walked into a private, adjacent car park not open to plebs like me.

The next day, like Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Car Park Manager and I went up and down each floor of the car park. We didn't find the rucksack. OK, fine. Chalk it up to #ClassicJimbo. A little lesson from life.

I got home to find a note on my doorstep. "Dear James, I'm sorry for looking through your bag but I found it yesterday in a car park and I wanted to find out who the owner was. I've left your bag and shopping behind the black wheelie bin. All the best, Carly."

And there it was. My bag, shopping unmolested, was behind the black wheelie bin, with no additional information which I could use to contact Carly and thank her.

The gods were smiling on me that day. In a different city someone might have been too scared to approach the bag fearing it could be a bomb or some such. The paucity of others.

But not here in Sheffield. In Sheffield we have a Carly to find lost shopping in private car parks on a hot summer's day. A Carly to rescue lost food, to take it home with her and to put the milk and other perishables in the fridge overnight to keep them below a temperature at which bacteria will grow. A Carly to use a letter at the bottom of our collective, metaphorical and literal rucksack to work out from whence it came. A Carly to drive said shopping to where it belongs so it can be reunited with its owner. A Carly to leave it behind the black wheelie bin where it can be found later, safe and sound.

Somewhere in Sheffield walks the demigod Carly. She does her good deeds not looking for anything in return. Medals and trophies are of no interest to Carly. Carly looks just like you or me. Some days Carly might be rescuing orphans from a burning building. Other days she's returning lost shopping to its owner. It's all the same to our hero.

If ever you meet Carly, flash her a smile and give her a hug from me.

Jimbo Williams

Next article in issue 138

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