Saturday, April 19, 2008

In Which Wonders Never Cease

Temperature: About 12C now. There was some sun today, but it has rained this week. A lot. And on Thursday there were even snow flurries. Brrr. We were all depressed about that.

Here is an amazing, true story.

In December, The Spouse lost his wallet. We had been here about a day. It was probably stolen from the inside pocket of his overcoat while we were in a coffee shop.

This was vexing not only because it contained all of his credit cards, but also his newly acquired Slovak driver’s license.

An EU driver’s license is expensive. He paid about 15,000 Slovak crowns or $600 USD for it. But, unlike an American driver’s license, an EU driver’s license is good for life. And it is good in the US, as well as anywhere else in the world. It was the most valuable thing in the wallet (he doesn't keep cash in it).

Fast forward to Friday.

The Spouse was walking to school with Baboo (Skittles was home, sick again, the victim of a rather tenacious tummy bug). A municipal worker, one of the guys who wears a Day-Glo orange jacket and keeps the parks and other public areas clean, called The Spouse by name.

“I have your wallet,” he told an amazed Spouse. (Actually, he said, in Russian, “I have your papers.”)

“How did you know who I was?” The Spouse asked.

“I recognized you from your pictures,” the guy said. “There are pictures of you in the wallet.”

So they arranged that The Spouse would meet the man after work, at 4:00, in another part of the park.

Of course, we decided to give the guy a reward: the bottle of Johnny Walker has been gift-wrapped and gathering dust, lo these many months. And some cash.

Sure enough, we found him at the appointed place. He reached into the pocket of his orange jacket and said, “This is yours . . .”

And it was!

He told us he found the wallet in a trashcan by the Metro. The cards had all spilled out of it, so he carefully picked them all up and put them back in the wallet.

Which he then kept.

For more than four months.

On the off chance he might one day run across the owner.

In a city of more than 10 million people.


worthy said...

How amazing! That one honest man in Moscow meets another! So did he like the Johnny Walker? And how much money do you tip a man who has done you such an enormous favor? I wouldn't know what to do!

Once many years ago my friend Mimi, an Ohio girl and not used to urban ways, made a phone call in Grand Central station in NY City. She left her wallet in the phone booth. When she realized it she went to the nearest police officer who of course totally dismissed her as foolish to expect to get it back.

But out of the crowd a Swiss stranger called to her, are you Miriam ?? And handed her her wallet. It was one of those once in a million chances. So now I have had 2 friends have their papers returned to them and this means the odds are totally against anyone else getting theirs back who knows me so my advice is to hang onto yours if you do know me! I think my karmic gifts have run out!

If karma functions by proximity anyhow...

love, V

Anonymous said...

Ah, humanity! Your story gives me such hope for us all... I believe all good deeds and all good faith moves in a circle. And acts like this make people, one by one, believe that good people exist!

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