Please to enjoy this very long story which I only meant to write a few paragraphs on :) Everything here is 100% true, and it pretty much has nothing to do with finance – other than involving a wallet.
The Case of The Mysterious Wallet
Three weeks ago I went for one of my daily walks as I usually do in between blogging and my HGTV shows, and as I wrapped around the corner of a somewhat busy street, I started seeing these little scraps of paper randomly thrown about. Kinda like an ant trail, only a lot bigger, and a lot more noticeable.
At first I tried to ignore them, chalking it all up to some dumb kid who thought it was cool to litter with all his friends, but as the trail grew larger and larger, and my conscience started feeling bad for not being a good neighbor and picking them up, I decided that on my return path back I’d do my good deed for the day and scoop ’em all up. So I kept walking…
Then, at about 20 feet past all this rubbish, I noticed something brown and squarish smack down in the middle of the road just sitting there. All pumped up and lifeless. I tried not to look at it much as my curiosity can get the best of me (and it sure will, as you’re about to find out), but as it focused in the corner of my eye I realized that yes, that bulgy thing out there is indeed someone’s wallet! Full of stuff that I couldn’t make out at the time, but things I was sure were pretty important.
Two things quickly crossed my mind:
- KEEP WALKING!! Don’t pick it up – it’s a trap!! (Remember when I found that bag of dollar bills and I thought someone was watching and/or pranking me? This stuff freaks me out!)
- OMG, that would SUCK if that was my wallet out there and everyone just kept passing it by without a care in the world! Or worse, they stole everything from it first (my cash, credit cards, IDENTITY!) and THEN discarded it back only to be trampled on by cars day in and day out…
I was genuinely torn, so I did what I always do when I can’t make up my mind like this on the spot – I keep going. I continue my path as if I never even saw anything, all the while thinking of all the possibilities and what my next move should be as I get farther and farther away. This is what happened here, and this is what happens whenever I can’t decide if I should buy that new pair of shorts or shirt that’s on sale too. It sucks. And as I get older, my indecisiveness only get worse :(
So off I went. Around the corner, and away from this poor wallet faster and faster with each and every step – all the while seeing cars and joggers go right past me AND the wallet themselves! Every time someone went by me I looked back to see what they did, and every single time the same thing happened: they kept going too! Maybe cuz they didn’t see it as they wooshed by, or maybe because they didn’t *want* to see it as had happened to me.
The Crash One Month Earlier…
Before I continue, I should probably mention one other KEY thing here which was very much an important part of my whole thinking. A month or so earlier, in that VERY SAME SPOT where the wallet now lies, there was a HUGE accident which contained one or two cars in the middle of the night skidding off and bashing up some large trees and a telephone pole.
The place was a wreck, and from the look of it something really horrible must have happened (I meant to hit Google for details after happening across it – again, on a walk – but I promptly forgot and figured I probably didn’t wanna know all the details anyways. The shattered car parts and mud everywhere painted enough of a picture as is.)
So as you can imagine, seeing a wallet magically appear in the EXACT same spot where the previous crash had happened, started pumping my detective juices in overtime… And here were some of my newest explanations for it all:
- This wallet must have been left here from the crash and no one ever saw it for an entire month.
- The members of the crash fled the scene of the crime, but they argued with whether or not to turn themselves in, until one day the weaker one comes back and drops it as “evidence” secretly hoping to get caught!
- Someone was kidnapped in that spot, somehow relating to this very same car crash, and then THREW their wallet out of the van’s window so that the police would eventually find them!
All insane theories, I know, but someone could be in serious trouble here! I mean, what are the odds?? And why do I keep coming across all this stuff and no one else?? (Okay, that part could be coincidence, but still – it’s weird, right? ;)).
The Contents of The Wallet
Finally, I decide that enough was enough – even though this whole situation literally spanned about only 60 seconds, haha… – and I walk back to check out the wallet once and for all.
And this is what I found in it:
- A TON of cash. Like, maybe $80? (I was too afraid to put my finger prints all in it)
- A handful of credit cards and other ids
- A driver’s license which told us who was involved, and where this person lived (I would soon involve an “us” into this all)
- A couple of love notes (I REALLY wanted to read them, but again – was trying not to leave prints!)
- And a bunch (like 4 or 5) of business cards…
Now, two interesting things about this wallet: #1) If all cash was still in there, as well as everything else, it’s pretty evident this wallet must have JUST been put there or else someone would have stolen it all. So that nixes Theory #1 on it being a leftover from that crash the month before. And #2) All those business cards that were in there? They belonged to a police detective!!!! ACK!!!!
So now I’m CERTAIN something suspicious is going on with this whole thing. And even more so that I’m not crazy! (I mean, come on – police business cards?? In an un-touched wallet in the middle of the street??) I’ve also added one more theory into the mix to replace the one that was just shattered: Perhaps this kid was undercover and now he’s been “found out!” He got grabbed away and is being held at ransom somewhere!
At the same time I’m delicately going through this wallet, my friend Nate calls me up and starts blabbering on about business which is very much the LAST thing on my mind at the time being. I quickly fill him in and bring him up to speed, and then I ask him what he thinks I should do. After we get past his laughing and thinking I’m a whack job, of course…
He tells me I should either call up one of the detectives from the cards in the wallet, or maybe just go right over to his house and get down to the source once and for all.
Now I’ve seen enough horror movies to know when someone’s about to be a huge idiot and get themselves killed, but the idea of calling the police and making a fool of myself wasn’t all that exciting either. After all, why would the kidnappers go back to this guy’s house and await their ransom anyways? That would be pretty stupid. (Although why be careless to miss his wallet too?! Hmm…)
Any way I looked at it though, SOMETHING had to be done cuz now I’ve got this damn kid’s wallet and I very well can’t just hold on to it… I’ve gotten myself right into the middle of things, and now I’ve gotta find a way out and rinse my hands of it all ASAP.
I decide to head home and talk it all over with the wife, while in the meantime snapping a few pictures just in case I needed documentation later for some unknown reason. I figured it couldn’t hurt…
So I walk back along the massive ant trail of papers scattered across town (which is now apparent it all came from the wallet as I see a couple of more little notes on the grass, along w/ some other nondescript biz cards laying around), and I stuff ’em all back into the wallet forming one gigantic-size lump. How this kid even PUTS this thing in his pocket is a mystery in it’s own to me – this thing holds the Library of Congress in there!
I rush back into my house, explain the whole situation (yet again) to my wife this time, and quickly catch my breath back as I eagerly await her response. “Hmmm… yeah, I think you should probably just go to the house too and see if maybe his parents are home or something. But make sure to hurry cuz we have a doctor’s appointment in about 40 mins.”
“Hurry??? Do you know what I’ve gotten myself into? I’ll be happy if I just make it out of this thing alive!” I half-way jokingly say back. “Well you’re not going by yourself now, that’s for sure! You’ve officially just freaked ME out too! I’m going with you!” That’s not a bad idea, I thought to myself. That way there’s TWO of us there in case anything funky happens, and I’d also have a 2nd witness there to support my story! “Let’s do it!”
I run upstairs to change into something a bit more manlier and tougher looking (I can look pretty scary when I want to be), and off we go in my souped-up Caddy. All one and half miles away, smack dab in the middle of Pleasantville.
We get to his house, and I see a pretty decent family car sitting there in the driveway. “Someone must be home?” we say at the same time. “Okay, I’ll go in, and you sit here in the car w/ the engine on just in case, okay? If anything happens, you speed away and call 911!” “Deal” the wife laughs back.” “Here we go! The moment of truth!”
The Moment of Truth
I walk right up to the door, adjust my hat enough to look a bit more hardcore, and I ring that silly little doorbell of theirs (you should have heard the thing, it made quite the tune!).
I waited a few more seconds – which seemed like an eternity at the time – and went right back to ping it again when the door opened. (“Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God!”)
“Yes? Can I help you?” the voice behind the door asked, while she somewhat shielded herself in case *I* was the bad guy in question here (Hah!)
“Ummm…..” I stammered out, half-way nervous because of the situation, and half way *shocked* at how gorgeous she was! (I wasn’t expecting that!) “Ummm.. Yeah, so I was walking around a couple of minutes ago… and uhh… I kinda found this wallet?” [blank stare back] [blank stare back] “…Maybe it’s yours?” Realizing what an IDIOT I sounded like knowing full damn well it wasn’t HERS at all, but “hers” as in maybe someone in her family’s by chance? I couldn’t figure out if this woman was this kid’s sister or girlfriend (maybe the receiver of all those notes?), or even one of the criminals involved to throw me off track! You know, send out the pretty one to distract the boy? It was working!
“Ahh yes…” she replies, letting out a deep breath as well as her guard, “My poor son must have left it on top of his car again, he’s always leaving it on his roof like that.” What the?? ALWAYS??? And you’re his MOM???? “… He just called me about an hour ago saying he couldn’t find it again. You’re so sweet to return it!”
“Uhh… sure! No problem… You see there was this crash the other week and umm… I was thinking maybe it uhh.. maybe it had to do with this wallet or something? And uh…. nevermind, have a good day!” I wanted to get out of there so fast so I turned around and just started to go.
“Oh… well thanks again! What was your name?”
“Jay! Don’t worry about it – It’s all good!” I said halfway back to my car by now. It seemed she was reaching back into her purse to maybe give me some sort of reward or something (or pull a gun??? no no, stop thinking like that!), but I was way too embarrassed to stay anyways. Not only did I blow this whole thing out of crazy proportion, but I made a total ass of myself at the best part of doing such a good deed – seeing the reaction! I jumped into the car, gave my wife a high-five, and sped on outta there relieved to be done with everything once and for all.
A small part of me still believed it could have been a ruse, esp. with my new “pretty criminal” theory, but I was also happy to put it all behind me and consider it my first case closed ;) It only took about 30 minutes from start to finish, but MAN does time stop when you’re confused and/or worried and/or scared, haha…. it was a whirlwind of emotions!
Before we made it back home though and ran out to our doctor’s appointment, I got one last question about it from Nate. It seemed in all the commotion I had forgot to update him on what we ended up doing, so I told him and he shot back one last jab, as if to rub it all in: “Well, I’m glad you didn’t die!”
Yes indeed, yes indeed. I live to solve another case! :)
PS: We never got to to the bottom of those detective cards, but I’m thinking he was either looking to get a job w/ them after school or something, or perhaps they were his dad’s or older brother’s cards and THEY worked there instead… The only thing that still kinda concerns me is that one of the cards was for their “child abuse” department, and I just pray he wasn’t in trouble and/or went behind his parents’ back to report them! Cuz then who knows what would have happened once she saw them in there when I returned the wallet :( But I gotta think those odds are just silly low, right? (RIGHT?)
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!