Every so often, someone restores my faith in humanity.

It’s Christmas Eve, and I was still out buying a gift for my nephew. The day had not started well — I have misplaced my glasses and am forced to use my backup pair with the scratch in the left lens. I left the bookstore, and pulled into the parking lot of the grocery store to buy cranberries, pineapple, and spices for cranberry sauce.

My wallet was missing.

I searched the rental car. No luck. I raced back to the bookstore, checking the parking lot before I went in. No, no one had turned it in. They took my name and phone number, promising to call me if it showed up. I then went to every store in the strip mall to see if anyone had turned it in there.  No one had.

Just before I went into the third store, it hit me.  I was three thousand miles from home, scheduled to fly home in a few days…

…with no government-issued i.d.

I called the Rocket Scientist, who texted me the phone numbers for the banks so I could cancel my cards. He called the friend house-sitting for us, who could not find my passport where I thought I had left it.

At that point, since it had been well over half an hour since I had noticed the wallet  missing, I called to cancel my cards. (Can someone please explain to me why banks want you to tell them your card or account number when you have indicated you’ve lost your card?)  I held it together, being all calm and businesslike, until the third card. At that point, after having to repeat my story over and over, I completely lost it and started sobbing. (Big props to the Wells Fargo customer service representative who talked me down until I could go through the process of canceling my cards, with only an occasional hiccup from me.) After fruitlessly trying to get hold of the credit union, and deciding it wasn’t worth it (since I had less than $20 in the account anyway), I decided to go home (well, back to the house where I was staying).

At that point, the bookstore called to tell me that someone had turned in my wallet. I had dropped it in the restroom, which was the last place I had gone before leaving the store. I drove back to pick it up, joking to the clerk that maybe this was God’s way of telling not to spend anymore this Christmas. I was indeed a happy (and relieved) Pat.

After all the excitement, I decided, what the hell, I’m down to eight dollars, but I am going to get myself a peppermint mocha. I went into Starbucks, ordered my Venti Nonfat No-Whip Peppermint Mocha (decaf, since I already had enough stimulation for one day), paid for the drink and, as I was closing my wallet, noticed…

two fresh, crisp, ten-dollar bills that had not been in there before, courtesy of the stranger who had found my wallet.

Season’s Greetings, y’all, and all the best to you and yours.

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