‘Today you, tomorrow me.’ York man finds, returns Japanese man’s lost license, credit card

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — Losing your driver’s license, credit card, and cash is enough of a problem for anyone at any moment. But for a Japanese man, in a small U.S. city, during a pandemic?

“I was just kind of panicked, because I’m a foreigner,” said Takashi Oshima, a Washington, D.C.-based journalist who — working remotely anyway for now — decided to experience small-town America somewhere where he could still drive to the city when necessary.

Literally and figuratively, Oshima, a correspondent for the Asahi Shimbun (a national newspaper in Japan) and also an avid cyclist, was riding out the pandemic in York last week when — out for a bike ride — he noticed he had left unzipped the hip pouch where he stores his valuables when he rides. He retraced his steps, but no luck.

“But eventually I called the credit card company,” he said, which had already gotten a call from Aaron Owens of York. A call center agent put the two in touch. They met in person. Owens handed Oshima the plastic sleeve he had found containing the license, credit card and $50 cash. Oshima tried to thank Owens by giving him the $50, which would have been well worth the trouble Owens saved him of getting a new credit card and especially a replacement U.S. driver’s license.

“But he insisted, ‘No, no, no,’” Oshima said. “He just said something like ‘Today you, tomorrow me.’”

Owens confirmed that recollection: “Today you, tomorrow me,” he said, asked separately to repeat what he had told Oshima.

Oshima had never heard that specific saying before but Googled the term and found out it referred to a decade-old story about a Mexican couple that refused to take $20 from an American man, who was stranded on the side of the road with a blown-out tire, whom the couple helped, according to the story. Using their limited English, they said, “Today you, tomorrow me,” to convey something akin to, “What goes around comes around.”

The symbolism wasn’t lost on Oshima: An American man, inspired by the story of the Mexican couple refusing money from the American they had helped, was refusing money from the Japanese man this American man had helped.

Owens, the native English speaker inspired by the Mexican couple a decade earlier, explained “today you, tomorrow me” in his own words:

“If you have the opportunity to help somebody out, cease it,” he said. “Because you never know how that’s going to ripple through time.”

Read More: ‘Today you, tomorrow me.’ York man finds, returns Japanese man’s lost license, credit card

2021-03-11 00:41:32

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