Rewarding a Kind Neighbor
May 31, 2009 7:41 AM   Subscribe

How to thank a kind neighbor who went out of her way to return a lost phone?

I apparently dropped my phone while walking from my car to the house last night.* This morning, I went out to see if my phone was in the car, after looking all over the house, and found a note on the windshield - "I may have something of yours, please call." There was also a business card left inside my front door with the message "I have your phone, please call."

I texted my SO via the computer to call her, since he was out running errands - and she said that she did have it, she found it in the street this morning, and she'd call us when they got back from breakfast.

I'd like to offer her a reward, but I don't know how much to offer. It's a rather expensive phone (the new Blackberry Bold). I don't think she's the type to accept it, but I'd rather make the gesture anyway.

And then, if she doesn't accept it, what else could I do to thank her? I was thinking a large bouquet of flowers, or maybe a gift certificate to a pet store, since she has three dogs.

Any ideas?

* [Yes, I am an idiot.]
posted by HopperFan to Society & Culture (10 answers total)
Maybe a gift certificate to her phone provider, to go towards at least part of her bill that month - OR - if she's your neighbor, offer to take her out to breakfast sometime soon.
posted by Cookbooks and Chaos at 7:47 AM on May 31, 2009

I recently helped a neighbor when she had car trouble and she mailed me a nice card that was a joy to receive. I like the flowers idea with a card that says thanks. We never have enough fresh flowers around.
posted by dog food sugar at 7:48 AM on May 31, 2009

If you think she won't accept a gift then just keep it small. Great idea about the gift certificate to the pet store in a thank you card. Make it for say $30. It keeps it small but thoughtful. Just leave it in her mailbox.
posted by MayNicholas at 7:49 AM on May 31, 2009

I don't think any monetary reward would be appropriate, maybe a small gift like flowers with a thank you note and letting her know that she's welcome to knock on your door if she needs a favour?

If you're not well acquainted, maybe get to know her better and return the act though friendship?
posted by ashaw at 7:51 AM on May 31, 2009

Bake her cookies or something - she went out of her way for you, you should go out of your way for her.
posted by shothotbot at 8:00 AM on May 31, 2009

Give her a gift certificate to dog sit for a weekend?
posted by 6:1 at 8:26 AM on May 31, 2009

Gift certificate for local pet store sounds right.

I agree with the others, she didn't go out of her way, but I agree with your sentiment to do something nice.
posted by vincele at 8:47 AM on May 31, 2009

Sending her a thank-you note is fine --- actually I think baking cookies is pushing it. It would have been really shitty for her not to return the phone to you, and people don't deserve effusive thanks for not doing something really shitty.
posted by jayder at 10:41 AM on May 31, 2009

I think money is kind of unpleasant in situations like this- I like money, but I would never take any as a reward for simply returning someone's lost item, and would feel weird and almost insulted if it was offered, especially after I'd made the return.
Flowers, wine, or chocolate, with a thank-you note, would be lovely, though. And later in the summer, maybe invite her & her family over for a BBQ or drinks on the porch.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:53 AM on May 31, 2009

Update : Got the phone, she told me that when she found it this morning, she actually called the number listed in my contacts as "Dad and Mom" - and spent about 15 minutes getting her ear talked off by my father. Now she knows all about our family pets, and vice versa. :) She wouldn't take a monetary reward - just said something to the effect of "Oh, no no no - we just live right down there in that white house, my boyfriend's name is "X", if you ever need anything, just stop by."

I went with the flowers, a nice bouquet in a vase. I had some second thoughts about the pet store gift certificate idea - because having pets myself, I know that people are sometimes a little particular about where they shop for them. (Yes, overthinking a plate of beans!) I'm going to leave them on her porch with a thank you card.

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions!
posted by HopperFan at 11:01 AM on May 31, 2009

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