Lost and found: Islanders share heartwarming stories of lost items returned to them

·7 min read
In a frenzy of decluttering, Jessica Fritz sold this purse at a consignment shop. With a post to social media, she was able to track down buyer Ellen Egan, who graciously sold it back to her.  (Jenna Rachelle - image credit)
In a frenzy of decluttering, Jessica Fritz sold this purse at a consignment shop. With a post to social media, she was able to track down buyer Ellen Egan, who graciously sold it back to her. (Jenna Rachelle - image credit)

No one can say if it's truly a phenomenon unique to Prince Edward Island, but when people lose things on the Island they are often returned — sometimes before the person even realizes they are lost.

Wallets and purses, clothing, rings and yes, even beer, have found their way back to their owners.

Islanders shared some of those heartwarming stories with CBC News via Facebook.

(Please note that usernames are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style.)

Wait for the ring

We received many stories of graduation and wedding rings that had been lost and found.

Matthew Affleck of Halifax lost his high school graduation ring while playing pool one winter night in Charlottetown.

"Someone found it a month or so later and found me on Facebook to give it back to me. One thing I miss about P.E.I. is the honesty most Islanders have!" Affleck wrote.

A developing story

The Lelacheur family got the film developed in the camera they found, hoping to find clues as to its owner.
The Lelacheur family got the film developed in the camera they found, hoping to find clues as to its owner. (Sara Fraser/CBC)

In the days before digital cameras and cellphones, Mary Condon said she forgot her camera at a baseball field in Montague. It contained photos of her youngest son's kindergarten graduation. She went back to look for it the next day, but it was gone.

"I was very upset to be missing those photos. Turns out a nice local couple turned it into the RCMP. After a year of it sitting in the RCMP lost and found, the unclaimed camera was given back to the couple who turned it in," Condon wrote.

"They got the film developed, saw the family resemblance between my hubby and son, and the connection was made!"

Money, money, money

Melissa Gallant of Charlottetown said she dropped her wallet outside a grocery store last week and didn't notice.

I don't think if it was anywhere else I'd get an envelope of cash returned. — Julie Watts

"A sweet couple came and delivered it to my home. I am very grateful for their kindness," she said.

Several people mentioned accidentally leaving their wallets on top of their cars and driving off, including Carrie Jayne Bernard of Summerside.

"Twenty minutes later, an elderly man came into my office at work asking for me. Said he saw it in the middle of the road and a lot of the cards had scattered. He collected what he could, found my business card and came to my work! I was shocked!" Bernard said.

She had just moved to the Island and said "it showed me I made a good choice moving here."

Losing envelopes of cash is more common than you'd think, if a sampling of readers' comments is any indication.

Julie Watts lost an envelope of money that belonged to her mother, after her mother sold her belongings when she had to go to a nursing home. Watts dropped it in a store parking lot, and when she returned to the store the next day, the envelope had been turned in.

"I don't think if it was anywhere else I'd get an envelope of cash returned," Watts said.

Some people have lost substantial amounts of cash on P.E.I. and had it returned.
Some people have lost substantial amounts of cash on P.E.I. and had it returned. (Castleski/Shutterstock)

Nicole LeBoeuf is one of several people who posted about accidentally leaving their purse or wallet in a store shopping cart. She couldn't believe her luck when hers was returned recently.

"Everything I owned was still in it! My rent in cash, my bank cards and credit cards and all my health info. There are amazing people in P.E.I.!" LeBoeuf said.

Susan Elizabeth Bulger of Summerside left her credit card at a grocery store once.

"Guy behind me picked it up and travelled to my bank and got there ahead of me," she commented.

Ashleigh MacGregor lost her wallet in a river — she didn't say how.

"A few months later, someone found it trout fishing and contacted me and returned it," she said. And the fisherman could say they caught something, so win-win.

Call me, maybe

Isabelle McNeill of Summerside recently lost her cellphone by the rink at Founder's Hall in Charlottetown.

You have to behave when everyone knows your grandmother! — Karen Mellish-May

"Being a university student, I stressed about it quite a bit. It was pretty essential for online class and keeping on schedule," she wrote. Turns out someone found it, and dropped it off right at her house the next day.

"It had a card wallet on the back, and I wouldn't have minded at all if the $20 was missing, but there it was! Still looking for someone to pass the act of kindness to," McNeill said.

Carol Provost of Quebec spends her summers in Murray Harbour, where she lost her phone. Someone found it and hung on to it for her until she returned the next spring.
Carol Provost of Quebec spends her summers in Murray Harbour, where she lost her phone. Someone found it and hung on to it for her until she returned the next spring.(Submitted by Carol Provost)

Carol Provost from Chateauguay, Que., is a seasonal resident of Murray Harbour, where she lost her phone in September 2019. Someone found it, charged it so that they could try to find her, then held on to it until she returned last summer.

"There were so many precious pictures taken with my phone that were not backed up. I would have lost them forever," she said.

When asked if she thinks the same thing would have happened back in Quebec, she said, "Definitely not!" She is moving to P.E.I. to stay this summer.

Almost unthinkable

And then there's the case of the lost beer. Or, just the case of beer!

"Left a case of Gahan beer in my cart leaving Superstore and drove home to Cornwall. Figured it was gone for sure," commented Sam Leslie.

"Gave them a call and someone turned the case into customer service. Bless your soul, whoever did it."

Blame Marie Kondo for this one

Jessica Fritz of St. Peters recently tracked down a purse she had consigned at a vintage shop. The little leather purse had been handed down to her by a family member.

Fritz says the little vintage purse was not only a memory of a loved one, it's also a reminder of Germany, where she and her husband emigrated from.
Fritz says the little vintage purse was not only a memory of a loved one, it's also a reminder of Germany, where she and her husband emigrated from. (Jenna Rachelle)

"I had it for 10 years and then last year decided it was the year for minimalism and I decluttered a lot," Fritz said. The purse sold, but she said she couldn't stop thinking about it.

"For half a year, I told myself that was silly. But couldn't forget about it." She finally posted to a local Facebook group community of thrift-shop consumers, and said within a few hours the person who had purchased it offered to sell it back to her.

"P.E.I. never disappoints. Thank you," Fritz said.

I'm not crying, you're crying

Karen Mellish-May says the town and people of Summerside helped return her lost hope. A nurse in Halifax, she had always planned to retire to P.E.I., but that came earlier than expected when she got endometrial cancer.

'There is a lady in Halifax who provided henna crowns for chemo patients who lost their hair. It made me feel like a warrior princess!' says Karen Mellish-May of Summerside.
'There is a lady in Halifax who provided henna crowns for chemo patients who lost their hair. It made me feel like a warrior princess!' says Karen Mellish-May of Summerside. (Submitted by Karen Mellish-May)

"I arrived in Summerside five years ago, having just finished chemotherapy and radiation. I had no hair, and a prognosis that was unfavourable. I did not understand the P.E.I. way of life. I was rude, cranky and complaining to everyone I came in contact with," she said. "This was responded to with kindness, patience and goodwill.

"I have learned how to love my neighbour. I have regrown my hair, and am in remission. Thank you, Summerside."

Mellish-May said she believes small communities are more kind and supportive because lives are so intertwined.

"You have to behave when everyone knows your grandmother!" she said.

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