I was studying impro with a great teacher, the lessons ended late at night and at that time I was still driving and had a car, so I would take everyone who wanted to go in the same direction as me after the lesson. It was lot of fun.
One day, one of the women that rode in my car left a bottle. I mean a water bottle of those that you throw away to pollute the environment once you are done drinking the contents… or spilling it. I’ve found it on the car the next day.
I decided to use it as a well intentioned joke and tell her that she forgot the bottle in my car. I was expecting her to just throw it away, but that isn’t what happened. Instead she hugged me and thanked me deeply about returning the bottle.
Obviously I was surprised about her reaction, so she explained:
Whenever I travel, I buy local bottles of water and I keep them, I collect them. This one you’ve returned it’s from Chile, see, it’s not a brand you can get here.
What I assumed was garbage was actually something very valuable for her. I’m so glad that I didn’t act on my assumption and I was able to return the collection item. The moral of the story is: never assume.