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April 19, 2011

How to return a Lost Wallet

So the Husband and I did a really good deed this weekend. And I know its really good b/c people keep telling me how nice we are for it. And I'm probably not being smart about blabbing it to the world, since we need all the good Karma points we can get and boasting about good deeds detracts from that... but I wanted to share b/c I thought we got pretty creative in the hunt for the man who lost his wallet :)

The pups and I were out for a stroll down at the National Mall. It was crowded since the day was just gorgeous... a lot of people, a lot of families, a lot of tour groups and a lot of young kids all about... It was a great day to be outside.

As we were walking up along 7th Street headed back towards Chinatown, I noticed a wallet on the west side of the street by the National Archives.  Husband attributes me finding said wallet b/c of the pups... they are scavengers to say the least - and with so many tourists in town, I know they are both on the hunt to put something they shouldn't in their mouth.

I picked up the wallet, looked around... looked for a police officer... looked for anybody who looked like they lost something. It was the end of our walk, so the pups were pooped... so i decided to walk home and hope i saw an officer on my way.

Of course no such luck, and even when we called the non-emergency police line, they simply said "send it to the address inside the wallet"... No help at all.

The dude wasn't from the DC area, so he was probably visiting and I was concerned if he was flying "how would he get back on the airplane?" So my last resort - ship the wallet as is to the address on his driver's license.  But otherwise, I'd try to find the dude...

The wallet had an ID, cash, a couple credit cards, a copy of a resident alien card, a few international phone numbers on a piece of paper, a triple A card and a paper discount card for the Marriott.

So after resolving to try not to feel bad for "snooping" through this person's wallet, I called the Marriott. The lady there was super nice when I explained to her I had found a wallet, found this discount card, and simply wanted to return it to its owner. She called all the local Marriotts, but nobody with that last name had a reservation.

So then I went on to the WORLD WIDE WEB... and started googling. I was able to find the person's deed, info on age and marital relationship of the dude (and his wife), his wife's place of work and that was about it.

So i pulled out one of the credit cards and called the 866 number. I hit that Lost and Found option and spoke with a rep. I explained that I had not lost a card, but that I was hoping if i gave them a name and card number - they could contact the person and give him my info, so he could retrieve his wallet. She looked it up and took my number. She said the security division would call.

When Husband came home from work, he went through the wallet too. He said, well let's try AAA since nobody has called yet - it can't hurt to have more than one  place try to contact him. So he did.

AAA was amazing. The membership was cancelled but the person looked into the history of the account and found one call. So the service rep called the number and found it was the wife's cell. So Husband gave the rep his cell phone # and asked the rep to leave a message.

The dude was reunited with his wallet yesterday probably about 24 hrs from the point he had lost it. Husband and I felt pretty good about ourselves. We refused to take any thing from the dude b/c like i said, We need all the good Karma we can get!

 So why am i using up some of our good karma points by telling y'all this story? Well, if i had figured "o well, can't find the person on google or at the marriott" and just sent it back - the dude could have been stuck. His wife was up all night she claimed worried... and while there wasn't a ton of money in the wallet, the time it would take to replace all those items in there wasn't wasted.

We got creative...
1. had to dig through the wallet - felt bad for it, but had to do it. It was investigative... My countless hours watching Criminal Minds and NCIS paid off.
2. Googled the person. searched for them on FB, google, etc...
3. Looked for clues in the wallet... ours led to dead ends
4. Used the credit cards or membership cards available to ask those companies to reach out. It wasn't invading privacy or getting info we shouldn't have. we simply gave them our info to pass along.

Worst case, we were going to send the wallet back priority mail with a note explaining how we found the wallet and tried to return it to them...

Sure it took about an hour out of my day (doing laundry and ironing!) but it was so worth it b/c i know if it were me... i'd have been forever grateful for the extra measures taken to help me out...

So our good deed of the day was appreciated, and that in an of itself made it worth it... have you ever gone out of your way to do something good? did you have to get creative?


  1. Way to go! He's lucky you were the one who found it, since other people would definitely not go to such awesome lengths to return it. By the way, I could REALLY use a happy hour in May if you're up for it! :)

  2. Oh goodness where to begin! I work at a University and of course as most Universities go, there are bars nearby. I park a little ways away from campus and I've found checkbooks, debit cards, cell phones...and yes I say that plural! I've FB creeped, called numbers, emailed etc and gotten everything back to the rightful owners. Most of the time it's some grateful college kid that had a little too much to drink the night before ;)

  3. Way to go for returning the wallet. I always get scared carrying my alien registration card around what if my wallet gets stolen, then I have no way to prove I'm here I'm glad you guys did this good deed....kudos to you and tons of karma points!

  4. Hi there! I saw your post on our AAA Mid-Atlantic news feed. I just wanted to say 1 - thank you for being a great example of going above and beyond for your fellow man and 2 - we're glad we could help!

  5. You are one stellar human being! Are you trying to get angel wings? :)


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