My wife and I were having breakfast at ABC Bakery when my phone alerted me that there was motion at our front door. I checked our doorbell video and saw that a young woman was taking something out of our mailbox.

Confused, we started home, then I realized my wallet was missing. On the larger screen of my desktop at home, I could see that what she removed from the mailbox was, in fact, my wallet. It took a moment to realize that she must have found my wallet and was returning it, but had second thoughts about leaving it in the mailbox.

Realizing I was recipient of her kindness, I assumed she would be back and left a note on the mailbox for her. When she came back later in the day, Miriam and I enjoyed time on our porch with a most delightful, engaging young woman, Emma McLaughlin.

We learned she’d just graduated from Vintage and was on her way to UC Davis to study zoology with a fine long-term goal. Emma is clearly a young woman who will continue to accomplish important things and be a great neighbor wherever she is.

In the wake of the mass murders of the previous weekend, when it was tempting to take a bleak view of humanity, Emma’s kindness and wonderful spirit uplifted us, reminding us that we’re blessed with excellent neighbors in Napa and that those young people many of us tend to worry about are smart, full of compassion and ready to meet the challenges of their future.

Lee Hamilton


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