With all the alternative facts being bandied around these days, it’s oftentimes difficult to believe there are honest people in the world. I had an experience that convinced me, without doubt, that there are some. My wife has been a Girl Scout Troop Leader for over thirty years. Her troop has gotten somewhat small over the years, but she continues to hang tight. This year they decided to take a trip to Savannah Georgia to visit the birth home of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts, U.S.A. From Little Rock, Arkansas, this is an eleven-hour drive. Since only three girls were going, my wife and two other parents decided to drive. Two parents were taking their daughter, and I would help drive two other young ladies, whose parents weren’t going.
I had never been to Savannah. I had heard before going that it was a beautiful city. After we arrived, the beauty of the city was evident. Young teens like malls, so we decided to go to the Oglethorpe Mall for dinner the first evening in town. The food court had a nice selection from which to choose. I decided to eat Chinese. We all made different selections. I had driven most of the distance from Little Rock to Savanah; therefore, I was tired and hungry. After finishing our meal, and feeling a bit rested, we meandered about the mall for a short while before returning to our hotel.
My wife made sure the two young ladies, for which she had charge were safe in their room. Their room was next to ours. I was physically exhausted; however, before getting completely comfortable for the evening, I decided to check my emails. Then, I reached for my wallet, which should have been in my back pocket. It wasn’t there. There was no need to panic, since I often get a bit scattered when I travel. I figured I must have mistakenly left it in the car. I went down stairs, searched the car from front to back…no wallet. I went back to the room, and gave it a thorough going over…no wallet. Then, I panicked!
It was about 8:20 PM, when I finally realized that I must have left my wallet at the mall. Although I wasn’t sure where. Thoughts of chucking it into the waste basket came to mind, as I thought I might have placed it on the food tray after paying for my meal. The mall was closing at 9:00, and the drive back would take me about twenty minutes. My wife and I, tired as we could be, rushed to the car and drove back to the mall. Once at the mall, I asked her to check with the mall offices to see if they had a lost and found. Meanwhile, I went back to the food court. There were two custodial workers in the area where we had eaten earlier. I told them why I was there. They told me that the waste baskets are emptied often, to keep from having overflow. The basket I had emptied my trash in was empty. I’m in a state of real panic at this point, thinking about someone making themselves welcome to all my credit cards, cash and driver’s license. The idea of returning to the hotel room and trying to make calls to cancel credit cards made me even more exhausted.
One of the custodial workers suggested I check with mall security. If someone had found my wallet and turned it in, it might be there. The security officer was very nice. She looked through a drawer that had many wallets…none of them were mine. I did the only thing I could do at that point, I left my name and cell phone number. Here I am in a city in which I had never been before without money, driver’s license, and surely to be the victim of identity theft.
The mall was about to close, but I decided to return to the Chinese food place where I had bought my meal earlier. There was an older Asian man working at the cash register, and the young Asian woman who had served me earlier. I approached the man, and began to explain why I was there. He immediately started to say no before I could fully explain my predicament. The young lady overheard me and told the man my wallet was in the counter drawer. The man took it out and handed it to me. A heightened sense of euphoria came over me. If you’ve ever been convinced beyond doubt, during a specific experience, that there is a god in heaven, this was one of those moments for me. I offered a twenty-dollar tip to the young lady, but she refused to take it. The older gentleman, evidently convinced that I was not up to some sort of shenanigans was quick to chime in to let me know that I was a customer, taking money from me wouldn’t be right.
When I arrived back at the hotel, I was more exhausted than I had been in a long time. I slept all night without getting up even one time. The rest of the time in Savannah was wonderful!
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.