#206 When someone returns your wallet

Please don’t steal my wallet.

Honestly, I’ve got my entire life scrunched into that little slap of leather. Credit cards, ID, and lots of other Really Annoying Things To Replace fill up my back pocket every day of my life. Once in a while I’ll be in an airport in another country, on a bounce-a-long business trip, or swinging on top of a Ferris Wheel and I’ll suddenly panic and think “If I lose my wallet here, I’m screwed.”

Yes, we all know the pain of losing a wallet ranks high on 1000 Annoying Things, that non-existent netherlist we’ve mentioned a few times before that also includes: #986 Yanking out only two inches of floss because the package is suddenly empty, #985 When your nacho breaks in the salsa, and #984 The taste of orange juice after brushing your teeth.

Losing that handful of crinkly fivers is nothing compared to spending weeks trying to trace back all those little pieces of plastic that rule your life. Plus, in addition to a series of neverending phone calls with the government, you also have to start your Buy 9 Cappuccinos, Get 1 Free card all over again. Hullo!

So that’s what makes it so sweet when someone returns your wallet. And that’s why today we stop to say thanks to you, anonymous stranger! You resisted the urge to keep everything after finding our life lying in the gutter … and you traced it all the way back to us. Returning a wallet to a stranger definitely ranks higher than blessings and photos on the Stranger To Stranger Love List.

Stranger to stranger love, folks.

Stranger to stranger love.


I think the blog Dear Photograph is awesome.

Photo from: here

60 thoughts on “#206 When someone returns your wallet

  1. I CANT AGREE WITH THIS MORE. I lost my wallet the day before thanksgiving break on my way home from college. I just so wanted to get home I didnt even care. As soon as I got home I searched and searched. I replaced my license id and one of two debit cards. I kept monitoring the other. I went back to school and it was no where to be found. Over a week later I got an email telling me that it was found! I sprinted to go get it and the wallet I lost on campus was returned in perfect condition. Everything was exactly in tact, money and all. (I also read from Frank Warren, that if you keep pictures of kids in your wallet it is more likely to get returned.) I still don’t know who returned my wallet but thank you, you are awesome!

  2. Yes..this happened to me at Trader Joes and a Starbucks free postcard fell out too. they returned the wallet with cash and the postcard and that’s how they tracked me down.

    1. I’m of the mind that the police have more important things to do than return someone’s wallet. Plus, if you return it in person, they get the chance to thank you, which makes both of you feel good. :)

  3. “Orange juice… Tastes bad with Colgate.”

    So very, very true.

    But yeah, back to the main post, someone returning your wallet is awesome!

    Returning someone else’s wallet is just as awesome, because you just KNOW that the Karma Gods are going to smile down upon you later on. ;)

      1. You know what? I actually like Colgate. There were some dark years when my other half worked for the competitor, I and had to use it’s product. Dark years, I say. (Not so dark I stopped brushing, though!)

        1. I’m sorry – even if my significant other went to go work for a brand I didn’t like, I’m not sure I could switch loyalties to some other brand..

          For example, if my wife went to go work for Slanket, it’s not like I’d all of a sudden throw away all my Snuggies and exclusively use the inferior Slanket product.

          Some things just trump true love, jdurley, and brand-loyalty is one of those things.

            1. I guess it depends what brand.. Snuggies? Loyal! Nutella? Loyal! Your favorite type of toothpaste? Loyal! Twilight-based Vampire books? Loyal!

              Stupid stuff like clothes? Who cares! Whatever is on sale!

              But some things are about priorities..

              1. Then I guess it would be fair to say that I am loyal to brand MikeDover.

                btw, lol re: “Slanket”. Sounds like the kind of cover you don’t want to know what went on underneath! Ew…

                1. That’s what he WANTS you to believe so that he can have both the Snugglies and the delicious Nutella all to himself! (just kidding)

                  1. Snugglies! That sounds so cute! I think you might’ve added an extra “L” in there, but I think I might adopt it! :)

          1. I am of the opinion that nothing trumps true love Freddo, whichever way that falls. Love is the most noble expression and cause of humanity.

            1. I’m worried that something got lost in the translation of my admittedly bad joke.

              I agree that love is the #1 awesome thing in the world.
              And there is nothing in the world more important to me than my wife.
              And that includes brand names.

              I mean, I’ve seen the Princess Bride just as much as the next fella, and I know the important of “true love” because I saw what it did for Wesley and Buttercup.

              1. …as much or perhaps even more…
                There should be a special font or something for when we’re speaking tongue-in-cheek.
                But just to be clear, folks: all Freddo’s “Team Jacob” stuff is totally for reals.

        2. I also like Colgate.

          I remember using “milk” flavoured toothpaste as a child. That was a mistake – I took to swallowing it instead of spitting it out, so Mum replaced with a strong minty flavoured one that burned my throat if I swallowed too much.

          And THAT is good-parenting. ;)

  4. *Two times this past decade my entire purse with full wallet and photo gallery similar to “Dear Photo” blog, returned! Definately ranks 2x stellar higher in stranger to stranger love in my pocket book and heart~Awesome!*

  5. i accidentally left my wallet sitting on a seat in a major u.s. airport, waiting to board a flight to europe alone. luckily someone returned it intact, and i was able to retrieve it before boarding my flight. never did find out who, never was able to thank them. im sure they know just how grateful i was though…

  6. Once again, gotta-lovethebadguy for his/her comment:
    In the 80’s, when my daughter was 9, while Christmas shopping she turned her back for seconds and someone made off with her wallet with nearly $70. She/WE were devastated! Not so awesome.
    Then very recently, I found a little girls wallet, plump full of bills and had the shop owners phone the number inside…promptly returned!
    *Thanks for the message; I could use one in with the Karma God’s!

    1. A few years ago, I dropped my cell phone right in front of my house and nobody returned it to me. :(

    1. If I got my purse back without my money in it, I would of course suspect the person who returned it to me. I know that odds are they aren’t the ones who took the money since they are the ones returning it… but I’m sure they would be my first suspect.

      1. Actually I lost my wallet, it wasn’t stolen. Three months later it was returned with every single one of the $680 dollars in it. I gave half of the money to guys who found it and returned it (business card in the wallet led them to me)

        1. THANK you for rewarding the guy who returned your wallet. I run a nonprofit coffee shop, and take time to hunt down lost wallet owners maybe two or three times a month. In four years only one person has offered anything except a mild “thanks” – except for one lady with a profuse THANK YOU SO MUCH, YOU SAVED MY LIFE.

          I wish people would realize the trouble we’ve saved them, and donate something to our nonprofit. I will not ever say that to someone’s face, but it’s nice to vent that thought here.

          I will continue to hunt people down, because maybe sometime someone will do that for me. And that would be quite awesome.

  7. Don’t live in my home country but head back once in a while. Took the train to visit my parents, got picked up by my Dad at the station and went to my folks’ house. 10 minutes after we arrived we got a call – for me! Turns out I’d left my passport on the train. However, rapidly, some kind soul had found it and called my emergency contact number: my parents! Lucky lucky!! Always gives you a nice feeling when that happens :-)

  8. Thankfully I’ve never lost my wallet or purse or had anyone steal it… (knock on wood) I have, however, been that person to return lost wallets/purses. My first job was at a gas station and at least once a week someone was forgetting their stuff on my counter. If it was a regular, I knew they’d be back. If it wasn’t, I jumped through hoops trying to find them. A few times it was even a phone and I called some people in that phone to tell them to tell the person I had their phone.
    Just a month or so ago, I found a ladies purse on the floor by the elevator here at work and I took it up to the people that own the building. The owner of the purse rewarded me with a $50 gift card to Outback. YUMMY!
    Ok…and once, when me and hubby were going out bowling with a few of his friends, I found a bunch of money rolled up in the parking lot. I’m glad I was the one that found it cuz I gave it to the people at the front desk in case someone came back looking for it. Everyone else said they would have kept it. I couldn’t. I mean… what if it was my money and I lost it? I would hope someone nice wouldn’t keep it since its probably the last of my money ’til pay day.

    1. Oh, and ps… yes Dear Photograph is very awesome. I’ve been looking through some of those pics in the past couple of days. Some of them make me tear up a little. I do plan on doing this, too…. as soon as I can find an old photo and get back to the place it was taken.

  9. “Stranger to stranger love”??? What kind of a website is this?? ha ha.

    But yeah, getting your wallet or phone or whatever you lost returned to you safely is one of the best parts about living in a civilization.

    Can I give you some advice, though? Don’t carry ALL your ID or bank cards with you. It is actually really hard to get ID replaced if you don’t have any OTHER ID to prove who you are. Also, replacing ID costs money, and for some reason, banks just don’t take your word for it that you are the account holder without any ID to prove it. I once had to cash in my jar of change in order to scrape together enough money to get a new birth certificate, which was then my ticket to getting access to my bank account, so I could then purchase all my replacement ID.

    1. I’m with jdurley.. “stranger to stranger love” sounds a lot more like a sketchy area of craigslist than it does a post around this blog.. :) But that’s just because jdurley and I generally keep our minds in the gutter..

      Thanks for the ID tip, jdurley! What about copies – does keeping copies of all or ID work for this purpose?

      1. It’s definitely a good idea to keep copies of your ID, but I don’t know how useful it is in the real world. For example, I’d like to think that someone with a photocopy of my ID couldn’t get access to my bank account.

  10. I lost my purse last week, I was at a festival and I was freaking out. It had my money, my wallet, my (only) car key — too much stuff in it, and I was 300 miles from home. Thankfully it was returned to lost & found with EVERYTHING in it. So awesome!!

      1. yeah…. that sounds like a good plan going forward :) i was freaking out a little bit about that. did i mention it was my roomies car, not mine?!

  11. I totally concur! I lost my wallet a couple weekends back while grocery shopping and had to retrace my steps back and forth between TJ and Whole Foods where I knew it had been. I thought it was long gone and tried to remember everything I had in it, ID, credit card, $3, a $20 starbucks card, etc. Very lucky to find out it had fallen out near the bulk bins in Whole Foods, someone turned it in and when I made it back they were waiting for me. I shop at the Whole Foods a lot so they know me which also helps. I don’t know who actually turned it in but was very thankful, especially becuase there was another $50 restaurant card tucked in there I had forgotten about.

  12. My husband lost his wallet on a beach in Victoria BC when we were on a trip to the coast from Alberta. We searched and searched to no avail. Then about 3 months later it showed up in the mail!! It had obviously been in the ocean so who knows where it was found!

  13. It’s crazy how you seem to read my mind sometimes.

    I just came back from Israel and left a club with my purse only to find that my wallet was missing from it. Frantic and in tears I rushed back in and searched under the couches for it. A young Israeli girl came up to me and asked my name. I told her and she handed me my wallet with all of my money and my I.D still in it. “I found this on the floor and I was watching it for you so no one would take it. I want you to know that you’re very lucky so forget about this night and just enjoy the rest of your trip.”

    People like her are awesome. Nights when your wallet is returned are definitely awesome <3

  14. Just last week I returned my shopping cart to the corral in the parking lot and found a wallet full of bills, cards and id. I brought it to the grocery store customer service desk and the clerk said “That’s the third one today!” It felt good knowing I made someone’s day. Glad to know there are other good doobies out there returning wallets too!

  15. Yes, this is very awesome. I love stranger to stranger love/acts of kindness by strangers/reminders of the beauty in this world =)

  16. This happened to my mom way back in the ’60’s. She left her purse on top of the car next to hers and it drove away! There went her grocery money for the week…until the guy noticed, turned around and brought it back. Thanks to that guy I got to eat that week–gotta love the strangers who do the good deeds!

  17. My wife lost her wallet this week, and we are in the process of replacing everything – including our passports. Grrr… She knows where she lost it – at a drive-through ATM machine where she had to open the door and stretch to reach the card slot. You would think someone could drop it in the overnight box or something.
    As a result, I went through my wallet and recorded every number on every card so if it happens to me, I can quickly cancel/replace everything. Scanning copies of cards and passports is a good idea also.
    I’m still hoping for an Awesome ending, but I don’t think its going to happen.

    1. Lo and behold, we had an Awesome ending. It turns out that the wallet was dropped in the garage after she got home, and we found it. Even better, she found it just an hour before I cancelled the rest of the items like passports and non-credit cards. Yipee!!!

  18. I believe you gotta’ hand it to the ones who are out there, open and honest in the “asking” for a little, versus taking: I saw a person on the corner, his guitar case open; he played me a song. I saw the need and said thank you with some money that may help him eat. I said a prayer for the lot of them, and know their story well. “There for the grace of God go I.”

  19. How odd. Someone returned my coinpurse only today. I had had to get a cab to my first day at work cos it was way in the countryside and the buses were not runing on time. I was offered a lift by a lovely older couple who were going to the cardiac hospital nearby. They got out first and when i got to my destination the cab driver said they had paid for me also.. I had so much stuff to carry bags. unbrella, travel mug that I didnt notice that I had completely missed the opening of my handbag and later I found the cab driver had drived all the way back to return it with every card and penny intact. Someone had done the same to him when he lost a wallet with a LOT of money in in the 70s and since then he always makes sure to return things if he can. I feel doubly blessed and might I suggest you put something like the first couples action on your list if you dont have things like that already..

  20. I had my purse stolen and it’s such an inconvenience. Take the money. I’ve lost pictures of my boyfriend and I, free cards for BK or starbucks, stamped cards I was working on to get a free fro yo or coffee..thanks for ruining my life whoever you were.

  21. I was having one of those moments where, when putting my bags/stuff in the car, I did things “out of order” (does that makes sense?), so I ended up leaving my purse, complete with iPod touch and my wallet with cash, 2 credit cards, a debit card, and multiple gift cards, in a cart at Target when I put it back in the cart thing in the parking lot. I had my keys in my hand, so I didn’t notice I didn’t have it, and I almost had a heart attack when I got to the next store and realized it wasn’t with me. I sped back to Target, and thankfully someone had brought it in. Nothing was missing, and while I couldn’t have felt like a bigger idiot, I am so grateful to the person who found it. So if you’re reading this, wonderful Target shopper in Bailey’s Crossroads, VA, thank you!

  22. I once lost my wallet along with $400 stolen off my credit card and after I replaced everything the police called and said someone turned it in. They found it washed up on the beach. Too little too late. That was anything but awesome.

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