How Many People Would Return a Lost Wallet?

I just got back from an almost two-week trip abroad, which was successful in several ways, not the least of which is that I did not lose my wallet.  I say this because the last time I took a faraway trip, to Moscow to be exact, I lost my wallet not once, but twice.  Due in part to recklessness (I was 26) and in part to naivete (I was pick-pocketed the second time).  The first time was inconvenient, and the second time… well, it was traumatizing.  And then Karma waved her magic wand.

I had been robbed in a night club in St. Petersburg on a weekend trip from Moscow.  Several days later, after returning to Moscow, I got a call from a British friend I had met whose number had been in my wallet.  A Russian woman called him, and he thankfully not only spoke fluent Russian as she told him she’d found my wallet, but miraculously he was headed to St. Petersburg on business and met with her to retrieve it, and brought it back to me in Moscow.  Of course, the minor amount of cash was gone, but everything else was still there.  It was a petty thief who did the stealing, and somehow I still got my life back over miles and miles in a hugely foreign culture.  Lesson #412 of my 20s:  with its occasional knack for balance, the universe can sometimes erase, or at least ease, the violation you feel when something of yours is taken.  Lesson #413:  strangers sometimes go out of their way.  Lesson #414: Russians are sometimes fabulous.

I was reminded of that old Moscow story when I came upon this one.

Little Charlie of Virginia (no joke) recently got his wallet stolen too.  And in the absence of a fairy godmother, wrote his own letter to the thief and posted it in the store from which it was stolen. It was returned a few days later.  I guess even a 9-year-old knows that Karma’s a busy girl, and may need a little nudge now and again.  Well played, young Charlie.

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