Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Priceless Lesson

I was at a Carolina Panthers NFL game in Charlotte, NC in November of 2007 with my 21 year old daughter. We were also with a large group of family and friends. At halftime, my daughter and I stood in the long line for the ladies room waiting our turn. When a stall finally opened, I ran in and proceeded with the "public bathroom squat." Looking down, I noticed a small wallet lying between my feet and picked it up after I'd finished. I opened the stall door to see if anyone was looking for it, but everyone inside seemed calm and unconcerned. I opened it up and there was a driver's license, a credit card, and over 100 dollars cash in it. What to do? I didn't want to keep it, but the crowds were coming and going and how do you find someone in a huge crowd like that? I could turn it in to lost and found, but the address on the license indicated she was from out of town, would she be able to collect it before the end of the game? Would it be better to try and contact her myself after the game and get it back to her that way? We left the restroom and joined the rest of our crowd, while I explained to them about this wallet I had just found in the stall. Never did I think of keeping it, but my daughter, a broke college student, started thinking of all the ways she could use that extra 100 bucks. Some of the others we were with encouraged me to keep it as well. But as we stood outside the restroom debating what to do about it, my daughter noticed a woman frantically run in the exit door of the restroom, and recognized her from the picture on the drivers license. I didn't hesitate, I also went back in there and asked her if she was looking for her wallet. She explained that it must have fallen out of her jacket pocket and she didn't realize it till she got ready to pay for some snacks. She was so grateful she wanted to give me some of the money for its return, but I wouldn't hear of it. She started crying and just stood there a moment, then finally grabbed me and hugged me really hard and said "Thank you SO much for being honest."

On the ride home from the game, my daughter quietly said to me "mom, you really would have done whatever it took to find her and return that wallet, wouldn't you?" To which I replied, "of course. No matter what happened, that money didn't belong to us, and no one should gain from someone else's misfortune, and I would hope that if the same thing happened to you or to me, that someone would do the same for us."

If nothing else, I hope my daughter learned a lesson that day. That would be worth far more than 100 bucks found on the floor of a bathroom stall!

~ Sherry


Alison said...

People like you restore my faith in humanity. Thank you.

Laura said...

As one who has lost my wallet and had it returned by a stranger, thank you for your honesty.