Good to have you back

19 12 2007

Today, thanks to the efforts of a kind stranger, I was reunited and it felt oh, so good. Not reunited with an old friend or a black-sheep relative, but reunited with my lost wallet. That pocket-sized polyester casing holds the keys to my identity and finances. Whether or not carrying such a valuable item on one’s person is a prudent idea, I can’t say, but it’s good to have you back, old friend.

Looking at it, you can tell it’s had a rough journey. (Of course the majority of this damage came from the inside of my purse(s)). The MARTA monthly pass and small bit of cash inside were stripped from it, and everything else was left intact. Who knows what filth it went through, what cockroaches and other vermin crawled over it while it sat so destitute at the bottom of the train tracks.

It’s hard to say what happened to it, really. After disastrous experiences like this, wallets rarely like to speak of the horrors they’ve seen. I can only go off the anecdotes of witnesses such as the credit union representative who left me a mildly unsettling message on my voice mail at work:

“Please call back immediately. It is imperative that you contact me as soon as you receive this message.”

After I listened to the message, my heart was racing and my adrenaline was surging. I was certain for sure that someone had broken into my financial fortress and tried to make hell for me. Unfortunately, I have past experience with such things, and have little desire to improve upon that experience. I was on hold for a long time, freaking out as I contemplated all the forbidden charges being racked up on my account. My mind went wild in those few minutes, imagining wild spending sprees and Duck-Tales-inspired dives through piles of golden coins. I could see my Web account access showing massive amounts of money being deducted (since, of course, I have massive amounts of money).

So I eventually got through and she told me that my wallet had in fact been found. Or rather, that a man had called to say he found my wallet and wanted to talk to me. She then proceeded to tell me that this man had basically defied death by jumping into the track area to get it and then quickly getting out before the next train came. (Well, this is MARTA we’re talking about.)

This kinda floored me, so I got the digits for this dude and called him. He seemed to be an average Joe. Or Jimmy, rather. That was his name. He said he did it because it was the holiday season and he didn’t want anyone to go down into the track area and use it for ill purposes. He told me he would take a bus and then a train to get down to where I work. He had just moved to A-Town and didn’t really know his way around. This was actually going to be his first trip to the Centennial Olympic Park area. I thanked him and he said he would come over to my workplace. In the meantime, I dashed off to the gift shop to buy a small gift. So he found his way over and called from the concierge, and an accomplice accompanied me down to the floor for safety reasons.

And there he was. An average guy who felt it was necessary to get that wallet. He told me that he’d gotten to Lindbergh Station (a point where the north line splits off into a Y, and typically a very busy station) and seen a wallet down there. That’s the same place where I realized I’d losst the wallet. He passed by it and then came back again and saw it. At that point, he decided the risk was worth it and got it. It’s a considerable risk, especially given that there is an electrified bar on one side of the track. Luckily, the wallet was not on that side. And if a train comes, it probably won’t be able to stop in time. Plus, I’ve been on trains on a few occasions where the operator has BREEZEd right through the station by accident. So he got the wallet and called my hair salon (yes, I have a poor-woman’s hair salon for my monthly trim off the ends of all five inches of my hair) and the credit union to see if they would make some effort to reach me.

Gotta say, I was touched. I gave him a gift basket and a $20 bill as a token of my appreciation, and my oft-tested faith in humanity was restored. I already have a new driver’s license and have applied for new cards, so that part isn’t so much of a big worry for me. Those cards were set to expire anyway I guess, so we’re just taking care of that a little early. It’s more the identity documents I wondered about. My only question now is, what happened? And how can I prevent this from happening?

On the way home tonight, I coincidentally saw a man get down onto the tracks and search around and then get back onto the platform. It’s quite possible to get something off the tracks and live to tell the tale, apparently, so just leaving it there on the tracks could have still led to ID theft. This sight seemed odd because that’s something I just never see, except on this day. The track area is so full of garbage and rats that you don’t want to go near it.

My inner non-cocaine-using Sherlock Holmes is currently conducting an investigation. Retracing my steps last Thursday night after work, I last remember seeing the wallet at Peachtree Center as I entered the turnstile and sticking it in my pocket (or — I hope not — setting it on the bench next to me). By the time I was exiting the train at Lindbergh, I knew I didn’t have my wallet anymore. So, if someone found my wallet strewn about the train tracks of that station, it’s probably because a person found the wallet and took what they wanted before discarding the rest. There’s also a slim possibility that someone picked my pocket along the way, but I’m not sure. One thing is certain, I think it’s highly unlikely that I dropped the wallet between the crack of the train and platform as I was getting out at Lindbergh. By that point, I knew I didn’t have it anymore.

It’s a mystery. I will try to be more careful from now on, and thank my lucky stars that everything has gone smoothly, so far. That wallet threatened to ruin my weekend (although that didn’t quite happen beyond some hours in the police station and on the phone) and possibly a little more. Nothing materialized though. Good to have you back, wallet of mine.

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Good news?

24 06 2007

I got a pretty substantial tax refund in the mail and a note that the IRS found a mistake connected with my return. Can this be real? I thought I owed them money. Did they find a mistake on my form or somewhere in the process and decide to SEND ME MY MONEY BACK, PLUS MORE MONEY? Is this a hoax? This can’t be right. But maybe it can! Time to think positive. And to be more careful next year! 🙂