The other day I was in Cape May, NJ for a long weekend. I got up early and rode my bike to the beach to join a yoga class I’ve taken before. The class was a bit disappointing but the experience was spectacular. The sun was still on its way up, the ocean waves were vibrant, and the sand was only randomly spotted with humans. I left the beach feeling rejuvenated and looking forward to heading home and making breakfast for my family.
I climbed on my bike, took a quick look at my phone to check the time, and rode home.
As soon as I arrived at my back door, I realized my wallet, which contained my brand new iPhone, my driver’s license, several credit cards and a little bit of cash, was missing. I ripped apart my yoga bag, reexamined my bike basket (it’s wire and see-through so that tells you the level of my panic) and nothing.
I spotted my boyfriend Jon on the front porch and asked him to give me a ride to the beach. We climbed in the car and drove the approximate 2 ½ miles to where I had practiced yoga. So much for any residual serenity.
When we arrived at the spot where I last remembered looking at my phone, and therefore had possession of my wallet, I jumped out of the car and told Jon I would retrace my steps back to the house and would he ask some of the local shopkeepers if anyone had turned anything in.
In my flip-flops I began walking in the street intently looking ahead and from side to side. I figured there were three possible scenarios. Some less than honorable person thought “Bonanza!” and was now enjoying a shopping spree at my expense. Some honorable but rushed person saw it lying in the street and moved it out of harm’s way, say to the curb (where some less than honorable person….) or some really honorable person picked it up and turned it into authorities.
The only good thing about my walking slowly back to the house – despite cursing my earlier circuitous scenic bike route home – was that I began to calm down and consider what needed to be done. First, I would call lifeguard headquarters and then the police department to see if anyone had found it. Then I would go online and check out PA Department of Transportation to report a missing license. Then I would go through my larger wallet and try to figure out what credit cards I had so carelessly thrown into my smaller one. And I would contact those companies.
My call to the lifeguard headquarters turned up empty but my call to the police was successful. Someone named Ethan had found my wallet and had left his cellphone number for me. Ethan’s dad answered the phone. His son – about 14 or 15 – saw the wallet lying in the street right by a parked SUV. Assuming it had fallen out of the car, they left a note on the windshield saying they had found their phone and wallet.
Those people called Ethan and said they had lost their phone and that the missing wallet and its contents belonged to them. But when Ethan’s dad asked them for the name on the license, they obviously didn’t come up with mine. That’s when Ethan said to his dad that maybe someone on a bike had dropped the wallet. Yay Ethan! My hero.
I met the family at a bagel shop less than a block from where I had done yoga. I was grateful but also so unsettled that I never got more than his first name and his dad’s cellphone number. So if you are out there Ethan, let me know, so I can give you a proper thank you.
It occurred to me after I left the bagel shop that if you hadn’t found my wallet, the guy in the SUV probably would have.