A lost wallet is generally cause for panic, unless you don’t realize you’ve lost your wallet until the person who found it contacts you. This is exactly what happened to me last Thursday evening. A saddle bag had fallen off my bike as I furiously pedaled home from work (I must have been going really fast!), such that I arrived to find an empty space where a waterproof pannier had once discreetly carried some of my personal belongings of the underclothing variety. Apparently, it also carried my wallet, as this passerby discovered when she rummaged through the bag, having seen something fall off my bike as I rode off into the black of night. Though her youth suggested she was probably a novice rummager, the leather-hunk her hand located must have immediately suggested “wallet” to her; inside the billfold she found me, all vulnerable and easy pickin’s to be mugged via a wild spending spree over the course of 24 hours. A tennis bracelet! All-Clad cookware! Home theater systems! She’d need a confederate, of course, someone who could reasonably pass with my name, address, and rough percentage of body fat (calculated using the height and weight found on my license). It would require makeup and a fake gut (purchased at Jack’s Joke Shop?) for her boyfriend to pull it off. But it could be done.
But instead of taking my credit cards for a ride, this finder-of-my-stuff sought me out via the ol’ tried and true “google” method (Patrick McVay + High Body Mass Index) to alert me that she was in possession of my link to the world of dollars and cents, and how might we do an exchange, hmmm? No surprise that I was easy to find, what with the amount of traffic this website gets (from Chinese computers that vigorously attack in search of…well, it’s unclear what they’re in search of). Also, Google stores all sorts of stuff about a person in case the NSA needs to know, such as one’s kindergarten test scores (and let me be clear: I was not getting enough sleep before many of those tests!).
In any event, it was all relatively low-hassle for me in the end. Yes, an extra 45 minutes is gone from my life, but not at all wasted. I discovered that I have my own personal wallet-finder who happens to be not just a Good Samaritan, but an Excellent Samaritan.