A stranger found a lost library book and returned it with this heartwarming note.

Employees at Idaho's Meridian Library were going through the mail after the Thanksgiving holiday 2017 when they got a sweet surprise.

Inside one of the packages was a book — Thomas Rockwell's "How to Eat Fried Worms" — that had been missing from the stacks.


Getting books in the mail is no major shock at Meridian. The library finds that visitors passing through or patrons going on vacation will often mail back items to avoid fines.

Along with this particular book, however, there was a curious handwritten note.

"I found this book on an airplane last month," the message began.

"I called your library to notify them. I failed to return on time (and) apologize. Please add this $5.00 to the person's account that borrowed the book as a credit. Thank you."

Sure enough, along with the note was a $5 bill.

Found in the mail with a $5 bill this morning. There are some amazing people in our community. #mymld

Posted by Meridian Library District on Monday, November 27, 2017

The good Samaritan had been hoping to get the book back to the library before the due date but couldn't and decided to assume responsibility for the late fee.

Obviously, they were under no obligation to pay the fine, and their small, understated generosity floored the library staff.

Knowing you have a book overdue at the library and not being able to find it is one of those little stresses that can add up big time.

It's like having a sink full of dirty dishes or being behind on laundry. It's not a source of massive worry, but many unresolved things added together can make you feel anxious and overwhelmed — too much of which is certainly bad for your health.

So while a stranger returning a book and paying $5 in fines may seem inconsequential, the act is inspiring thousands of people who have read about the story online.

"Everyone is loving this heartwarming story," says Macey Snelson, who heads communications and marketing for the library. "I think that this is resonating with people so much because we live in a world where the news cycles are filled with contention and negative stories, and it's refreshing to see a story that shows that people are inherently good."

This story proves that even a teeny, tiny act of kindness, in a small part of the country, can have a big impact.

Photo courtesy of Capital One
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Growing up in Virginia, Dominique Meeks Gombe idolized her family physician — a young Black woman who inspired Meeks Gombe to pursue her passion for chemistry.

While Meeks Gombe began her career working in an environmental chemistry lab, after observing multiple inefficient processes in and around the lab, she took the initiative to teach herself to code in order to automate and streamline those issues.

That sparked her love for coding and imminent career shift. Now a software engineer at Capital One, Meeks Gombe wants to be a similar role model to her childhood mentor and encourage girls to pursue any career they desire.

"I'm so passionate about technology because that's where the world is going," Meeks Gombe said. "All of today's problems will be solved using technology. So it's very important for me, as a Black woman, to be at the proverbial table with my unique perspective."

Since 2019, she and her fellow Capital One associates have partnered with the Capital One Coders program and Girls For A Change to teach coding fundamentals to middle school girls.

The nonprofit's mission is aimed at empowering Black girls in Central Virginia. The organization focuses on designing, leading, funding and implementing social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods.

Girls For a Change is one of many local nonprofits that receive support from the Capital One Impact Initiative, which strives to close gaps in equity while helping people gain better access to economic and social opportunities. The initial $200 million, five-year national commitment aims to support growth in underserved communities as well as advance socioeconomic mobility.

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Jeff Bridges photo by Gage Skidmore/Wikicommons

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