And This Is the Thanks I Get

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Attention, D.C.: I am out of the wallet-finding business.

The first time it happened was a Saturday. I was running errands was about to exit the Friendship Heights Metro station when I spotted a black purse on the platform bench. There was no one in sight. I looked inside the bag and there was a wallet with a lot of cash along with a government ID, driver's license, house keys, etc. Figuring the owner had panicked, I stopped what I was doing, went to my husband's office and tried to reach her. Long story short, she met up with me to retrieve her purse and valuables that afternoon and I received a "thank you." Meanwhile, my day was turned upside down.

Case 2: I was wandering around the Gap at Westfield Montgomery, the former Montgomery Mall, and I glanced down at a pile of T-shirts and spotted a wallet filled with cash, gift cards, etc. Oh, no. I attempted to turn it in to the cashier, but he said that he wouldn't try to contact the owner and that it would simply go into the store's safe. My conscience kicked in again. I went home, and I used the owner's student ID and last name to hunt down a telephone number. I got a perfunctory "thanks" from her father and then another "hey, thanks" from the daughter when she came to pick up her wallet.

Case 3: A few days ago, I was riding home from work on the Metro and I spotted a (yes!) wallet on the floor. After no flowers, no box of chocolates, no handwritten thank-you note, I thought: Maybe I should keep this one. But, of course, that's not what happened. Once again, I contacted the owner, wallet and owner were reunited, and I got a "thanks!"

Are we so jaded that no one thinks to do a little something extra for the do-gooder? That's why I'm retiring. So, if you recognize yourself in any of the stories, my address is the same and I love licorice.

DEBRA LEOPOLD

Kensington


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