As he landed in LAX, my husband called me.
I smiled as I saw that he was calling and answered the phone with, “Hi honey, did you land already?”
“Yes, I am in LA,” he responded. But, I heard worry instead of excitement in his voice.
“Is something wrong?” I asked him.
“I lost my wallet. In O’Hare Airport.”
I can’t even remember what I said but I am pretty sure it was full of multiple exclamation points. The next thing I heard from Jim was, “Okay, you are not helping. I need to make some phone calls.” Click.
This is a case where experience is a blessing. These moments of panic are nothing new to Jim and, therefore, to me. Missing keys, missing cell phones, missing envelopes of cash meant to purchase a car, and more than his share of missing wallets. And, we are still alive and well. Despite the pit in my stomach and the feeling of panic, I knew we would survive this current crisis. This one just had a few twists because Jim was across the country from me with no cash, no credit cards, and no ID. I couldn’t even wire money to the nearest Walmart for him because how would he claim it?
Jim called me back a few minutes later and he told me that he discovered that wallet was missing two hours into his five hour flight to LA. My heart just broke thinking about him frantically searching for his wallet and wracking his brain for answers for three hours stuck in a plane. Thanks to Lyft and Uber, paying for transportation wasn’t an issue and Jim was on his way to his hotel. He asked me to look up some documents about his trip for him and as I was doing that, I checked our bank account to see the first bit of good news. His bank card was not registering any activity.
I opened up our joint email account to look for the information he needed and I started yelling, “Your wallet! Your wallet!” into the phone. Jim, of course, wanted more details but it took me a few minutes to spit them out. A woman named Kristin DeVincent had found his wallet and found our email address on a card inside the wallet. In the email she asked Jim if he was still at O’Hare and offered to meet up with him. She said that it appeared as if the wallet had everything in it still–cash, credit cards, ID, etc. Holy cow! A great relief rushed over both of us. His wallet was found by a guardian angel–a woman who not only didn’t take a single cent of the $600 cash that was in there, but who also took the time to search through the wallet to try to find a way to connect with us.
It was many hours and many miles too late to meet up with Kristin but we emailed her back to thank her and to find out where the wallet was. Then, because minutes feel like hours in these types of crisis situations, I stalked her on Facebook and Instagram and messaged her on both. She messaged me back on Instagram, telling me that she was driving so it would be better to give her a call. Jim called her and she explained that she turned the wallet into lost and found, everything in the wallet still intact. Jim thanked her profusely and asked her if he could send her $100. She refused, saying that good karma was payment enough. My heart absolutely swells knowing that this stranger went out of her way to help us with no intention of any reward. Kristin, you are hope itself.
So, one very big problem solved. We know where Jim’s wallet is. Now, to tackle the other problems. Like, how do we get the wallet? In the meantime, how can Jim get some money so he can like purchase a bottle of water if he is thirsty? This was my husband’s first trip to California, his first solo trip ever, and his first opportunity to volunteer on the crew for a PGA golf tournament. This was a trip of a lifetime for him and I wanted him to enjoy every minute. He went there knowing no one and he is not the type to walk up to someone he just met and say, “Hey, I lost my wallet. Could you loan me some money?” In fact, as he was frantically searching for his wallet on the plane, a gentleman sitting behind him offered to give him some cash. Jim said no thanks, telling the man that he was sure he would figure it out.
That is just the type of guy Jim is–not wanting to accept help but always willing to help strangers where he could. On a visit Key West this Christmas we saw a gentleman struggling with a parking meter, the type that takes credit cards and prints out a slip for you to stick on your dashboard. The man stepped aside so we could use the machine and next thing I know, Jim was paying for our parking and the man’s parking. So many other people would just go about their own merry way and wish the stranger good luck. Not Jim. And Kristin is right, that good karma you put out into the world comes back to you. Sometimes it even multiplies.
So, how does this story end? Jim met amazing people on his trip who willingly loaned him money after learning about his wallet situation, and we have a new appreciation for Venmo. Also, the airport allowed Jim to have his wallet shipped to his hotel in California, so his ID and credit cards are in his pocket now, never to be misplaced again. Right, Jim?
When Jim opened up his wallet to check the contents, he saw that there was no cash anywhere to be found. He texted me that news and I texted back one word, “Shocker.” A little cynical, eh? I just couldn’t imagine such a profound happy ending, that the wallet would be safely returned to him with even the cash in it. I suggested that he call the airline to check into it. As he was on hold with the airline, he looked around the wallet more carefully and discovered a debit card with a receipt around it. The airline had put the cash on a card for him. Truly, everything was in the wallet, including every last dollar. Oh boy, if that doesn’t give you hope for our country and put a tear in your eye, I don’t know what would.
I would like to thank a few people. First and foremost, Kristin DeVincent, you are truly our guardian angel. Thank you for your generous spirit and for taking such good care of Jim’s wallet. We are so blessed that you are the one who found it.
Second, thank you to my husband Jim for teaching me that even the most seemingly desperate situations can work out in the end. So many challenges feel insurmountable and debilitating but, in the end, they simply end up being great stories.
Life absolutely serendipitous. We stumble upon so many happy accidents and beautiful lessons in even the most overwhelming situations. There is a magical hope to expecting that things will work out and that we will come out of our most harrowing challenges better than before. And, right now seems like the best time to infuse our lives with hope for the future, doesn’t it?
My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.