An Ode to Freecycle and Community Listservs

6 05 2010

I’m a big believer in karma.  Not necessarily in the mystical hocus-pocus sense, but that when people go out of their way to be kind to others, it creates a positive ripple effect and vice versa.

This past week I wrapped up my last campus program of the season for Faces of Israel with a quick visit to Chicago.  When I stepped out of the taxi from the airport, my phone slipped out of my pocket and – despite repeated calls to the cab driver and dispatching company – I was not able to retrieve it.

Yesterday, I posted a request for a used phone to Bronx Freecycle as well as a couple of other community-based listservs and within hours I received several generous offers for free, gently-used phones that were compatible with my carrier.  I responded to the first offer and picked up a phone from a woman who lives just a few blocks away.  On my walk home, I spotted a guy carrying seven large bags filled with soda cans and bottles.  He was struggling with bringing the bags up the hill to be processed for recycling and I eased his load by carrying a few of the bags up the hill – in the direction I was walking anyway.  (I like to think that I would have stopped anyway, but I do believe that picking up the free phone and being in a positive mood made me more aware of my surroundings and more inclined to help.)

The phone I received was on the older side (chunky and with a pull-up antenna) and my carrier was not able to program my number into it.  I was open with them that it was a friend’s phone and was kind of on the older side.  Nevertheless, the customer service supervisor apologized for the inconvenience (we were on the phone for nearly an hour together trying to get it to work) and is shipping a new phone to me free of charge in the coming week.  Meanwhile, a friend just offered my her old Treo until my phone arrives.  Viva Bronx Freecycle and viva la comunidad!

posted by amybetho




2 responses

7 05 2010
deb(bie debbie doo)

Yeah – Freecycle and Craigslist, etc. can really rock sometimes! Love them for that groovy give it away vibe 🙂

10 05 2010

@Deb: Agreed. Buying items new – whether you need them or not – is such an assumption these days and it’s nice to occasionally re-think it. 🙂

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