We had just taken our boots off, oh glorious feeling, when the man and his son started to walk towards their car. I ran after, asked where they were going, and if we could get a lift. Justin (we think) did not seem overeager to have a bunch of smelly backpackers in his SUV, but he complied very kindly. We kept up a sparse conversation until we reached Richmond, where he dropped us at the bus station. We didn't have much in common and we were tired and he seemed a fairly quiet type.
It wasn't until after he had driven off that we realized our trekking poles were still in his car. Now, to those of you who don't know, trekking poles can be a godsend. I was dubious and somewhat snobby about them for years, but when you're doing the distance we're doing and carrying the weight we're carrying on bad knees, they become your favorite, most used tool.
What a loss, we'd have to buy new ones or do without.
When we got to the hostel, the receptionist asked if one of us was Beth. He had remembered her name, called all the hostels in the area, and left his number! Sadly, the receptionist, whose English is not stellar, wrote the number down wrong and we couldn't call him back. What a nice man to have tried, we thought, and continued our plans to find new poles.
The following day, we returned from errands to find that he had phoned back, confirmed that we were staying at The Bug, and driven in from the neighboring suburb to deliver our poles! So I met an unlikely angel, and didn't even realize it until it was too late to see him again or thank him for his kindness. It will be paid forward.