If a scarf is forgotten on a Calgary Transit bus, its owner might as well consider it gone the moment they get off at their stop and notice it missing.
Things get lost and stolen in a city the size of Calgary all the time, and owners typically lose faith in any returns fairly quickly.
That's why Calgary lawyer Bill LeClair was dumbfounded when a wallet he had not seen in 37 years was recently returned.
"I get a call from my receptionist telling me that this gentleman had returned my wallet. And I thought to myself, 'what wallet are we talking about?'" said LeClair on the Calgary Eyeopener.
He says he went to his office a week ago out of curiosity, and that's when it hit him.
"It was my wallet that was stolen from me, years ago," he said.
"I had my credit card, my bank card, my Law Society of Alberta card, health-care card….and a penny."
The wallet was a relic from 1984, when he was working as a real estate lawyer in a downtown law firm.
The last entry on his savings account was Feb. 6,1984, and his Law Society Certificate had expired March 15, 1984.
LeClair remembers the last day he had the wallet. He had stepped out of the office in the morning. Upon returning, his paralegal at the time told him "something weird happened here."
According to her, a man dressed in construction clothes walked into LeClair's office and closed the door.
When people in the office confronted the man, who was fiddling with an office plant when they opened the door, he said, "Oh, I'm just checking the moisture in your plant."
"I checked my suit jacket which was hanging up behind the door and sure enough, my wallet was gone. And I thought, 'Oh, my heavens, I'm never going to see this thing again.'"
'Cash and dash deal'
Thirty-seven years later, and renovations are being done on the Barron building on Eighth Avenue S.W., about a block from LeClair's mid-80s office.
The building was stripped down to the studs, and asbestos was being removed. And there, in a pile of debris, Calgarian Brian Westergard spotted a wallet with cards spread out around it.
Westergard sought out LeClair and saw that the wallet was returned.
"I couldn't thank the guy enough," said LeClair.
He says he has no idea how the wallet ended up there, but is sure the man fleeced cash from his wallet and left the rest.
"All the guy wanted was cash, it was a cash and dash deal."
LeClair says people have commented on his remarkable luck when he shared it online, encouraging him to "go buy a lotto ticket."
He says the whole ordeal is a reminder of the good in the world.