Lost and Found….

Or why I don't carry my train pass in my wallet.

[A while back, I mentioned that I don't carry my train pass in my wallet, and that I keep a spare $20 in with the train pass.  This is why.]

It was the summer of '88.  End of July.  A hot time in the old town.  I was freshly graduate from college and had just moved up to "The Big City".  I was only a couple weeks into my first job.  I hadn't even gotten my first paycheck.  So I was broke.

Back in those days, "Business Casual" didn't exist.  I was still in training at my job, wearing "summer wool" suits and sweating buckets in the blistering sun as old men in three piece suits, smoking cigars, strode past me, cool as the underside of the pillow.

I rode Metra to work every day.  Real trains.  Real conductors.  You have to have your ticket out and on display for the whole ride.  I was using a "10 ride".  A slip of hard paper about the size of a credit card that had to be physically punched by the conductor each time, and it easily fit into the credit card slot in my wallet.

I woke up one morning and couldn't find my wallet.  Gone!  It wasn't in the suit I wore the night before.  Or the pants I wore that previous night.  It wasn't in my briefcase.  It was nowhere.

No wallet.  No cash.  No ID.  No train pass.  No hope.

Luckily, the Metra ticket agent My wallet looked a little like the blue onetook my check without ID for buying a replacement 10 ride.  But I knew no one would cash my check without ID downtown.

Being too embarrassed to ask any of my fellow trainees for some money for lunch, I hatched a plan.  I knew one person who worked downtown, over at the Lyric Opera.  I didn't know Ron well, but we had some mutual college friends, and everyone at Mac Knew everyone.  I would bum $5 from Ron.

Oh, those glorious pre-911 days when you could walk into an office building, stumble around, find a office, and have someone track down the guy you were looking for.  And Ron lent me the $5 without batting an eye.

I'm not sure anymore where I came up with the $20 to live on and repay Ron with that next day.  I know my brother-in-law, Doug, wired me $50 into my bank account up here.  On day 2 without the wallet, I stopped in at Metra's lost and found.  Nothing.  So, I called and canceled the charge cards (Sears' & Penny's, I think) and got a replacement driver's license.  On the way home, still no luck at lost and found.  Or on the morning of day 3, either.

Giving it up for lost, I was surprised when the floor receptionist handed me a note that morning (pre-voice mail): My wallet had been found and was at lost and found!

As best as I can figure, I must have put my train pass in my wallet, and then when I went to put my wallet in my suit coat's inner pocket, I missed and it fell to the floor.

And that, dear friends, is why I never carry my train pass in my wallet.  And to Ron, we may never have been "good friends" but you were a "great friend" when I needed one.

So, if you're wondering if people remember that act of kindness from forever ago?  In this case, the answer is, "yes."


mo.stoneskin said...

When I commuted my train pass is ALWAYS in my left trouser pocket. My wallet ALWAYS in my left coat pocket. My keys ALWAYS in my right coat pocket.

Didn't stop me getting to the station without any of them a couple of times.

Cora said...

When I was eight years old my best friend, Nikki, won two free tickets to the roller skating rink and she gave me one. Plans were made for her mom to pick me up after school and we'd go skating, and Nikki and I were soooo excited. When I climbed into her mom's car that afternoon I realized the little purse which slid onto my belt was missing - so was my free skating ticket and my money for a snowcone.


Somehow the purse had fallen off the belt (probably while I was hanging upsidedown off the bars at recess or going to the bathroom (not upsidedown) or something like that.)

Nikki's mom told me it wouldn't be in lost and found, that anyone who found my ticket and money would have kept it, but I wanted to check anyway. So, Nikki's mom rolled her eyes and let me out of her car and we ran to the office and, y'know what? It was there! Some kid had found my ticket and money and had turned it into lost and found!

*happy dance*


UberGrumpy said...

I left my wallet in a store once. It contained $80, about four payment cards, driver's licence, etc., and two stamps.

Ove the next two days I cancelled all the cards.

On the third day an envelope arrived, containing all my cards, with a hand-written note saying 'I think you'll be needing these'. My two stamps were on the envelope.

So I share your pain.

Gwen said...

When I was about 10 or 12 I had saved and saved for something. I don't remember what it was, but I had saved like $60 which was A LOT of money. And I carried around in a small leather changepurse with a turtle embroidered on it.

I lost the changepurse.

The last place I remembered having it was the laundromat. We searched, no changepurse.

About a week later the owner of the laundromat called my mom because an older couple who were just passing through town had found it. When we picked it up, inside was a nice note from the people who found it. I corresponded with them for years.

SkylersDad said...

I remember one time losing my wallet and not having any money for lunch. Nobody would loan me money, so I went to all the conference rooms looking for old donuts. Things snowballed on me and I lost my car and house and eventually I went feral, living under my desk, wearing post-it notes and living off of leftovers scraped out of the company microwave.

Or was that a bad nightmare I had?

Ah good times, good times.

JenJen said...

Yay for the Rons in the world!

J.J. said...

Sorry I'm soooo late to the party! My 'random act of kindness' story came after a 5.7 earthquake. I was in college and it hit during class.

After being detained for over an hour as a precaution, I had to walk up 3 flights of stairs with a heavy backpack to get to the parking structure, and the elevators were still shut down.

Out of nowhere came a man and a woman. He took the backpack while she helped me up the stairs (I was on crutches). We got to my car, he handed me the backpack and I put it in the car. I turned around to thank them...and they were gone.

That's why I return the favor to strangers whenever I can.

Anonymous said...

I NEVER keep my ORCA pass in my wallet either!