Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lost and Found.

Tenured Radical writes about a stranger returning her lost iPhone; her story reminded me of the time I accidentally left my wallet in a rest stop women's room in South Dakota and got it back - in Omaha, Nebraska - by the end of the day. Here's what happened: I was taking Bean and my parents to the zoo in Omaha, and we were driving from Sioux Falls. When we got to the zoo, I realized that I didn't have my wallet (nor did I have any way to pay for us all to go to the zoo, which became a problem at first because my parents couldn't find their credit cards). I remembered putting the wallet on the window ledge in the large restroom stall where we had stopped on our trip down and called everyone I could think of to try to alert the rest stop staff to check the bathroom. I actually did get through to someone who searched the bathroom twice for me (it turned out to be the wrong rest stop, but anyway), but he couldn't find it. So, I called Mr. P., who had stayed home to work, gave him the task of cancelling all of our credit cards, and resigned myself to having lost the wallet.

About an hour later, I got a call from a good friend, who had gotten a call from a woman who had found my wallet on *her* drive from South Dakota to Nebraska. My friend had recently written me a check, so the woman who found my wallet called the phone number on the check. Fortunately, my friend had my cell phone number and was able to reach me; the woman had told her she would leave the wallet with a ticketing agent at the airport (she was in Omaha to catch a flight). So, when we were done at the zoo, we swung by the airport and picked up my wallet (with everything still inside).

An odd epilogue to this story:
My friend had gotten the name and number of the kind woman, and I called her a week or two later (after she had gotten back from her trip). Unfortunately, the gentleman who answered the phone was somewhat rude - I asked for the woman and he wanted to know who I was and what I wanted, and after I explained, he told me she wasn't home. I asked if I could leave a message, but he seemed confused and surprised that I was calling for this woman. In fact, he sounded a bit like he was trying to be funny, but he ended up exasperating me. I got off the phone and called her again some time later and left a message on her voice mail, thanking her and offering to take her to lunch if she were ever in the area, but I never heard from her.

ANYway. What are *your* unlikely lost and found stories?

6 comments:

Danielle said...

I don't think you want to know mine. It's about how I found something and didn't give it back. I would be slammed if I posted it here. It was about 7 or 8 years ago.

bint alshamsa said...

It was Spring time in New Orleans and I was an 18 year old single mom at the time. I was walking through a grocery store parking lot and I saw a bank envelop on the ground. I picked it up and it contained about five hundred dollars and several checks written out to cash. The checks didn't have a phone number printed on them but they did have an address.

It's not like I couldn't have used the money. I was still unable to work because having a baby had brought on a massive lupus flare-up that made it impossible for me to do much more than bathe and shop for groceries. Fortunately, I was living with my mother and she was helping me with expenses.

Anyway, my mom and I went home and found directions to the address on the checks and we got in the car and went to see if we could find it. When we arrived, I knocked on the door. The woman who answered the door had a red face and blood-shot eyes. It startled me, but I explained how I had found the envelop and I wanted to return it.

The woman burst into tears and called her husband to the door. She explained that she didn't realize she had lost the money until she got to the bank and couldn't find it. She and her husband were distraught because the money was supposed to pay for their booth at JazzFest and she was inside crying because she couldn't afford to replace the money she'd lost.

She opened up the envelop and expressed surprise that all of the money was still in there. It was as if she had thought I would have skimmed some off the top before returning it. She hugged me and thanked me and offered to try and get me some tickets to JazzFest. I told her that she didn't have to do that. I was just glad that I found it in time for her to have her booth.

I walked away from that door as poor as a church-mouse.

A week later, I was in the parking lot of a busy Wal-Mart store. I loaded my bags and put my almost-one-year-old baby daughter in her carrier and got inside. Getting that girl strapped into the car seat was like trying to herd cats. My mind was focused on the task at hand, to the exclusion of every other thought. We left the store and headed home.

When I got home, there was a message on the answering machine and we played it as we unloaded the groceries. There was a woman telling me that she had found my purse in the parking lot and when she saw all of the medication bottles inside, she wanted to get it back to the owner as soon as possible. The woman had already called and left a message before I had even arrived home and realized my purse wasn't with me!

It turns out she lived just two streets over from me and I was able to run over and get my purse. The woman wouldn't accept any money from me, even though I could only offer her $20.

To this day, I am truly convinced that if I had not returned that bank envelop to the owner, my own purse would not have been returned to me. My purse was worth much more than the contents of that envelop because it would have cost me hundreds of dollars to replace the medications inside of it. On top of that, I would have had to order new checks, get a new ID card, et cetera.

I believe in a Creator and I believe that the universe has a way of rewarding good actions.

Donna said...

We were moving from Utah to Minnesota and stayed at a hotel in North Platte. We were hundreds of miles away before we realized we had left my son's favorite blanket behind, he was only 1 at the time. We called the hotel and asked them if they had found it, they did, gave them an address and they sent it COD to us. He was without his blanket for 3 days, and seemed lost, and was so relieved to get it back.

Nanette said...

This happened just this month.

I had gotten the mail and gone off to do some errands, planning to deposit my mom's SS check along the way (I am her payee - yes, yes, need to get direct deposit). When I got to where I was going, it was gone! I looked everywhere on my person, then retraced my steps - twice - thinking it might have blown away or something (it was a windy day).

It was nowhere.

I resigned myself to it being lost forever (as SS checks seem to be the easiest things in the world to cash, with fake or even no ID and the area isn't the best) and tried to figure out how and if we could get a replacement for it. It was Saturday, though, so there was nothing I could do about it yet.

Monday morning I get a knock on the door... there are two scruffy, streetish looking guys standing there, and one asked if I was me. I (somewhat gingerly) said yes and he got the biggest smile on his face. "I found your check!" he says. "We've been looking all over for this address so that we could return it to you"

Then they both started talking at once, telling me how they *could* have cashed it ("easy!") but that they decided to try and return it ("we're trying to change our lives!") and all this stuff. They were so happy that *I* was so happy to get it back, and praised them so much for returning it ("you guys are heroes!"), as well as giving them a little something for their trouble, that it was an all around feel good morning.

Pretty amazing, too, I thought.

bint alshamsa said...

Nanette,

Wow! How great is that?! Yeah, SS checks are very easy for strangers to cash. I don't even know why that is. Maybe it's because no one wants to be the one who refused to cash this check that an older person or person with disabilities might be really dependent on. For a lot of people their SS check is their entire income.

Getting replacement checks are hard and take at least a week, so I'm glad you didn't have to do that. I'm really proud of these two guys and I don't even know them. I guess you can't judge a book by its cover. It reaffirms my belief that there are still good people in this society. I just know that the universe has good things in store for them.

WV: keeping

What a coincidence!

hexy said...

I lost my phone on a busy street in Newtown one morning. I'd gotten up from the bus stop seat to get on the bus, and must have dropped it. I didn't even realise I didn't have it until I finished work and went to call my partner.

I panicked, and called the phone. A surprised sounding police woman answered. Someone had found the phone, and walked around the block to the police station to hand it in. It had actually been turned off all day, and the policewoman had literally just turned it on again... hence the surprise.