It could happen to you: How a returned wallet helped restore my faith in humanity

Wallet returned, with Tim Hortons and Shoppers Drug Mart cards intact.

I had never lost my wallet, but after last week’s brilliant display of carelessness, I’ve learned there’s a three-step process in which I absorb such a situation. Wallet is indeed missing? Check. Retrace your steps? Check. Curse yourself on a busy sidewalk and hope everyone assumes you’re chatting on Bluetooth? Check, unfortunately.

I may have thrown a few choice expletives in that rant for good measure, but that brief moment of public embarrassment pales in comparison to the trauma of losing your wallet. It's not the cash – it's losing your identity and having your most prized posessions out there on display, likely in some stranger's evil mitts.

I had just stepped off the bus on my way to work and my front-right pocket felt light. I keep my wallet in my front pocket because – beyond the fact that I hate sitting on the bulge – I’ve always felt that my wallet is not secure in my back pocket. I had seen the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie enough times to know that there are pickpockets at work. The irony is not lost on me.

My monthly TTC pass is a staple in my wallet. I had pulled it out and flashed it to the driver as I boarded the bus but what I did with the wallet after that is anyone’s guess. When I realized it was gone, I turned around just in time to see the bus drive off. After making note of the bus number, rambling and cursing my carelessness and misfortune, I arrrived at work and began the unenviable task of rebuilding my life from scratch – starting with cancelling credit cards and freezing bank accounts. On a desperate whim, I called the TTC’s lost articles department to report my loss, but let's be frank here. A million people shuffle through TTC buses and trains every day, there's no way my now irreplacable wallet would ever return to my hands.

I assumed someone was already ordering a coffee on my Tims card as we spoke, laughing at my misfortune and plotting to break into my bank account.  

The TTC rep I spoke to was … terse, to say the least. I assumed someone was already ordering a coffee on my Tims card as we spoke, laughing at my misfortune and plotting to break into my bank account.

The universe never bails me out in such situations. I lost my cellphone in high school and the person who found it was kind enough to make several long-distance calls before I could report the phone as missing. I had a prized hat stolen at Canada’s Wonderland – I actually saw a kid wearing it later that day, walking through the park with his parents, who quickly shunned me away when I asked about it. I’ve had fraudulent withdrawals from my bank and credit card accounts, and they didn’t even need my wallet to do that.

So you can imagine the shock when I got a call from the TTC over the weekend. My wallet had been found, and despite the fact that I had already stood in line for a new driver’s license and health card, I was over the moon! I assumed at best that my TTC pass had been taken, or the $100 Bay gift card from Christmas, but there wasn’t a thing missing when I retrieved it. Not even the stamp card just one purchase away from a free sub at Belly Busters.

Somewhere out there is a kind and noble man or woman, boy or girl, whose altruistic gesture has helped restore my faith in humanity. To that person, I would like to say thank you. In a world replete with identity theft, phishing scams and hacked bank accounts, it's refreshing to learn there are still people who try to do the right thing. Tonight I am going to watch 'It Could Happen To You' – yes, I did compare getting my wallet back to tipping a waitress with a winning lottery ticket – and count my blessings. Should someone happen to drop their wallet while riding the 61A bus in uptown Toronto, I'm eager to pay it forward.

Fraudulent phone calls, stolen hats and hacked bank accounts be damned.