One evening last week, a legal secretary, Gloria Priest, was playing a pinball machine at a Capitol Hill pub when somebody snatched her purse from the booth where she had left it under some other possessions. Fortunately, in the grabbing, her wallet fell to the floor and was recovered, leaving her with cash and credit cards.

Next day, a group of fourth graders from the Capitol Hill Day School on South Carolina Avenue SE was on a volunteer work detail cleaning up Garfield Park, which faces the school building. The kids found several items, including pages from an address book, some contact lenses and a prescription bearing the name of Dr. Wendy Zeller, Priest's dentist.

Aha! One of the kids said this find seemed pretty much like the aftermath of a mugging her mother had experienced. So the kids went back to school, and one of them called Zeller and got Priest's telephone number. They drew lots and one of them, named Becky, called Priest at her office to tell her of the find.

Priest went to the school, collected what the kids had found, and rewarded them with enough to buy an after-school treat.

We'd like to report the full names of Becky and the other kids who found Priest's stuff, but Laurel Montgomery, director of Capitol Hill Day School, said she couldn't give them out without time-consuming parental permission.