Random Acts

Random Acts: English visitors to D.C. grateful for honesty

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Please do not mistake this for a story about the return of a lost wallet. A couple of years ago, we were so awash in wallet-returned stories that we banned them from Page Three. So, this isn't one of them. If you read carefully, you'll see the first story about someone going to great lengths to express gratitude, something less common than the return of a wallet.

I would like to tell you about our recent experience in Washington. After walking around several of the famous museums and memorials in the city, my wife and I hailed a taxi and returned to our hotel. Making our way into the lobby, I discovered to my considerable dismay that I did not have my wallet. Without knowing the taxi company or the driver number, the hotel concierge explained that it would not be possible to contact the taxi driver.

After a reflective evening meal we returned to our room to find the wallet, complete with bank cards, money (about $500) and other personal items. A note from our concierge (Johnny) explained that it had been brought to our hotel (Hotel George) by the concierge (Donnie) from a nearby hotel (The Hyatt) where it had been handed in by a taxi driver. I assume that the driver did not remember exactly the destination and that the other hotel concierge found our room card to identify our hotel.

We were really moved by the sequence of events in which everyone had behaved so honestly. It may also have included a passenger in the taxi who discovered the wallet in the back seat.

I went to the other hotel to speak to the concierge, but he had gone off duty. I left a note for him and the taxi driver with the reception staff.

I have written to the two hotels to compliment their staff, but it would be good to know the full story. I have told everybody here about the incident, and all were impressed. It would have been so easy for any of the people involved to keep the wallet, but all behaved in the way we would all hope to happen but perhaps not always expect.

Our memories of Washington will always be very much about these and many other lovely people we met. We also visited Chicago, Lake Forest (for a fabulous wedding), New York and East Hampton. In each place, people were unfailingly helpful, polite and pleasant. We had a fantastic first holiday in the U.S.A. and will return soon.

-- Brian and Maureen McCullagh, England

My daughter came home from college to see the Billy Crystal matinee at the National Theater. She has been a fan of Billy Crystal for a long time, but after she saw "When Harry Met Sally," he became an icon to her.

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