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The World In A Wallet


I did a very good deed last Wednesday and it nearly didn’t happen. It wouldn’t have happened had I not been so indecisive and changed my usual route home which is what I did by changing trains at the very last minute. Waiting on the opposite platform for an alternative train I watched one come and go. As the doors closed I heard the hefty thwack of a wallet hit the platform. I rushed forward and realised that one of the couple who I could see rammed up against the now closed doors must have dropped it. I knocked on the doors of the train waving the wallet to get the couple’s attention. They completely ignored me and turned their backs laughing together – then the train jerked forward. I stepped back a bit anxious as to what to do. I looked around and no one seemed to have even noticed this little non-exchange so I just stood there with this big thick man’s wallet throbbing like a heavy heart in my hand. I stuffed it in my bag under a book in case it should get lost again and decided to hand it in to the station police once I got to the other end. But of course – there were no police at the other end and I suddenly had the feeling should I be bothered to hand it in at a local police station it would probably end up languishing in a drawer never to be returned.

I took it home and had a proper look through it. No cash, a few cards, family photo’s (some very old), driver’s licence and a ticket for the Chelsea vs Juventus game which was starting in 30 mins! It then became apparent that the owner of the wallet wasn’t even from London but Belfast and was probably at that point standing bewildered at the turnstile! I had another rifle through it and found a hotel key. To cut a long story short – I called the main number as the key only had the word Radisson printed on it. I got put through to a lovely Irishman called Terry in Dublin (Radisson HQ apparently) who was very excited about the prospect that a customer was going to be reunited with their wallet. From that point on it all got a bit silly. For a start we located Mr Lost Wallet via the last 4 digits on his last remaining credit card. Terry in his amazement and excitement it transpires took my mobile number down minus a digit. He then spent the next two hours trying different configurations of my mobile number and finally by fluke got hold of me. When he did he was almost exploding with joy and told me I was a saint and deserved a big present – ohh I thought – a week’s break at a Radisson of my choosing? A feature in the Radisson Monthly Newsletter? He then gave me Mr Lost Wallet’s wife’s mobile number although he said she may call me. He finished off by telling me that I was on his wavelength and there weren’t enough people like us in the world. I couldn’t agree more and I sort of wanted to give him a big telephone hug too.

Next…briiing briiiing….it’s Mrs Mr Lost Wallet absolutely over the moon about the wallet. We went through an inventory of what was in the wallet, how I found it, how she has 10 daughters and if I get an odd message on facebook then it was them and Terry trying to find me and how her other daughter had won a competition recently – an all expenses paid trip for 2 to see the Chelsea game in London that night. Luckily, luckily because the lost wallet contained a ticket that was a prize they still managed to get into the game so all was not lost. Then she told me if I was ever in Belfast that I must visit (and I am the kind of person that would too). I asked her where in Belfast they were – ha – only the same road that my bloody cousins live in. Too too weird. At that point, we both had a communal telephone slurp of wine and chink of glasses as we shared the joy of it all. An hour later Mr Lost Wallet himself turned up to claim his wallet back. I invited him in as I went to get it. He said thank you, you’ll be hearing from us and scuttled out into a minicab where his other smiling daughter waved from the back seat – and that was it. Do you know I think he said thank you but I can’t be sure. I think he was a bit shy despite the fact he had ten daughters. Ten daughters. No wonder there wasn’t any cash in the wallet.

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