Lost and Found and Paranoia (Kindness Week 6 ?)

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March 16, 2013 by TheBadNewsFairy

So, took a blogging class at the library, and on the way out, I stopped off to peruse the catalogue computers and see if any of my holds were in (dear person who’s had Stories: All-New Tales for the past five weeks – please turn it in already!), when in the place where the mouse usually is my hand fell instead upon a wallet. A wallet stuffed with cards, a student ID, a driver’s license, a temple recommend (an incredibly important object for members of The Church of Latter-Day Saints), a student ID, a $50 check, and a $1 bill. First thoughts went to paranoia, vis. am I on candid camera? Is this a social experiment? Have there been a rash of thefts in public areas around the city and this duct-taped wallet is the bait in a police sting operation and if I pick it up will the library suddenly be swarming with dozens of yelling officers with drawn weapons and I’ll be led out with my hands cuffed behind my back and go down in history as a thief? And a really crummy thief at that? In front of witnesses?

     Second thoughts went to lunatic practicality: Gosh, that would be exciting!

     And finally my third thoughts broke in: Stop goofing off, dummy, and figure out if there’s anything valuable in it . . . which you can use to find the owner, and if not, there’s a Lost & Found right at the front desk.

  Since “Mr. T” would probably be wanting his things back, I went with three’s suggestion. So I found a dark corner of the library (kidding, this library doesn’t really have dark corners, but nobody else was there to see me huddling craftily over something that isn’t mine). After riffling through the wallet’s contents I found all the above mentioned items. Fortunately, he’d gone to the same university I had, so the first step was calling university info and trying to get his number from the student directory. That was easy. Except he’d opted out of including his phone number in the directory. The info operator was only able to confirm that he is indeed a student.

     Next step, call  the customer service number on the back of one of his cards, get with the lost/stolen cards department, and see if I could manage to pull my wits together enough to put in a request that they call him and let him know his wallet was found and where I’d be leaving it (wits necessary because of my chronic inability to talk in real life without sounding like I’m up to something shifty, or nuts). I did not succeed in wit-gathering, and the agent probably thought I was trying to find out if there was money on the card for me to swipe, but! After a certain amount of dithering (I guess there aren’t as many found calls as lost ones?), he did get permission from someone on his end to contact the card’s owner, and then have the owner contact me, so we could get together. So I agreed to that, and he hung up, and I began worrying that he was just trying to get me off the phone so he could send the police to tackle me for sounding shifty (seriously, does anyone know of a course on how to talk sanely?)

    Oh, me, of little faith.

    To stave off panic and keep busy I did a spot tour of the library in case he was still there, then got on a computer and searched Google, Twitter, and Facebook for his name, foiled mainly by him having a not-uncommon name. And a few minutes into that, “Mr. T” called! YES! I confirmed I was the person who had his wallet, where I’d found it and where I was. Fortunately, he wasn’t too far away from the building yet and returned in a few minutes, where he was pretty excited to get his wallet and all its contents back, the more so because he hadn’t realized he no longer had it on him until the bank agent tracked him down. Double yay for minimization of the gap between discovering a loss and effecting a recovery 🙂

     We shook hands, exchanged big cheesy grins, I said something nonsensical, and he went on his way with a huge smile on his face. And that was very happy making.

     (The last-ditch effort would have been calling LDS church info and trying to find him by his temple recommend information, which I’ve done once before, and the LDS Church office people are really nice and amazingly organized. But I’m glad it didn’t come to that all the same.)

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