The wedding in September in Montauk was for Tim’s college roommate. We had never been to Montauk and were really looking forward to it. I will say though…it is not easy to get from here to there. It requires driving, ferry riding, and much more driving. Once there though our late afternoon/evening was filled with a walk on the beach, cocktails at the Sloppy Tuna, and a bonfire with the wedding party. Great night!On Saturday morning, Lyn and I headed out for a walk on the beach with the boys joining us. We just rambled along for a good hour. It was so relaxing, great conversation, and it felt good to get some exercise in after all those “good times” Friday night. About 30 minutes into our walk I saw something sticking out of the sand and literally almost passed it by but the color turquoise caught my eye. Turns out it was a man’s turquoise stone money clip – with money, id, and credit cards. Steve, from Arlington Virginia’s money clip, to be exact. It was buried pretty deep and caked with sand so we weren’t sure if it had been there awhile or what the story was.
I brought it back with us and we decided to find the police station after breakfast. On the way there we saw a police cruiser so we flagged it down and explained the circumstances. When asked where the nearest police station was, the policeman seemed a bit unsure gave us vague directions. Hmm…weird.We did some research on Steve while we ate. We googled him, looked him up on Facebook, and tried calling the hotel to see if he was a guest. Every search turned up a dead end. We commented on how hard it was to return Steve’s wallet to him so we joked that breakfast was on Steve. This turned into us thanking Steve for everything throughout the day….”Thanks for the t-shirt, Steve!”…” Thanks for the ice coffee, Steve!” and “Thanks for the round of beers, Steve!” After breakfast we made our way to the police station and the door was locked. Even though there were 3 cruisers out front, knocking on the door didn’t work. Nobody there. Nada. Apparently Steve didn’t want his wallet back.
We brought Steve to the church with us. How funny would it be if Steve was AT the wedding?! We all studied his face on the id and looked at everyone that came through. We even coughed “Steve” at one point when we saw someone that might be him. No luck. But we tried again after the wedding and still there was no one at the police station.This was one of those “unfortunate” weddings when there is a 3 hour lull in between the wedding and the reception. I say unfortunate because Let’s be honest…as much as we wanted to behave it was just enough time to get into trouble. And that we did. We all ended up at the pool with coolers and snacks…and Steve. I told the larger group the Story of Steve and I have to admit, I can’t believe the amount of people that said “Just keep the money and throw the rest out”. What?? Up to this point, our group of 5 wanted to find Steve. Honestly, we wanted to bump into Steve and say “Dude, we found your wallet!!” and give him a hug. But now, here was the larger group saying “Keep the money!” and it was feeling difficult to return it. Then the group started saying “The cops are just going to take the money and send the id and cards back anyways so why bother?” I had never even thought that was a possibility and I didn’t like the thought of it one bit. I was just completely dismayed that so many people thought it was fine to just take the money and run. $176 dollars to be exact. Yeah, I counted it after the third attempt to return it. We were all curious. I just kept thinking how horrible it would be if I lost my id, my credit cards, and my money. I would be freaking out…and what a pain to have to cancel everything. I would want someone to return it to me.
I would also be calling the nearest police station to see if anyone turned it in. But that wasn’t the case with Steve. Who doesn’t call the police when they lose their wallet? “Someone that wants you to take the money”, the group said. On our last attempt to do the right thing, I sat in the car and called the police station while the boys went on a beer run during the “lull time”. First, we stopped by the police station again…and no luck. A bored policeman did pick up when I called the main number. I explained my situation and he said “Well, I guess I could send someone over to meet you…if you want?” He didn’t seem all that concerned. We had decided if this last ditch effort didn’t work, we would bring the money clip home to our friend who is a police officer, and someone we trust, and ask him to contact Steve. But, I gave it one last college try and I said “Sure, I can be there in 5 minutes.”When we get there a policeman is out front talking to someone in a car. I approached and he asked “Can I help you?” Finally. “Yes, are you the one meeting me about the wallet?” He seemed confused, said no, and when I explained the situation he ACTUALLY said to me “Sorry, I can’t help you with that.” What?? You can’t help me return a wallet to the rightful owner?? What the heck! I walked back to the car and decided that I’d bring Steve home with me and turn him in to someone I trust.
Just then an officer pulled in and said “Hi…are you the one with the wallet?” Darn it! I started to stress thinking this wasn’t a good idea. But instead I said “Yes…here it is.” He invited me into the station and, for one second, I thought “What if Steve was murdered…or was missing…and here I am with his stuff?!” My heart raced and my palms got sweaty. In the end, the office r was very nice and gave me a receipt for everything in the money clip. He took my name, number, and address and explained that he would get in touch with Steve’s bank and they would contact him directly. He then hesitated, looked me in the eye, leaned in, and I immediately started sweating. Then he said “I just want to thank you for returning the clip with everything in it. Not a lot of people would have been that honest. I thank you…and I’m sure this gentlemen will thank you too.” Phew! I wasn’t sure where that was going.Let the reception begin! And what a reception it was – we had a blast! The next day we drove 2 hrs to the ferry, took the 1.5 hr boat ride back to CT, drove Matt to Logan (1.5 hours), and then drove 1.5 hrs to the Cape to get the kids at my parents, drove back home (another 1.5 hours) then hit the grocery store when we got home so we had stuff for lunch for the kids on Monday. Stoopid travel day. Totally, totally stoopid. When we got home, after not showering, and having barely any food all day, there was gift. Steve was on the answering machine!! “Hi, Kelly, this is Steve. I just wanted to call to say thank you for returning my wallet. You have no idea how excited I was to get the call that someone had returned it! I’d like to thank you personally….” And then he left his number for me to call. I was as giddy as a single girl receiving a call back from a promising blind date. When Tim came back from getting take out for us….did you really think I was going to whip up dinner after this day??....I yelled “Steve called!”
I called him back and was so disappointed that he didn’t pick up. I left a nervous school girl message saying something like “So glad I could return the wallet to its rightful owner. Thanks and have a great day!” It pretty much said, “Don’t ever call me again.” I sent our group a message that night saying “Great news - Steve was reunited with his wallet!” but for some reason, it didn’t feel that exciting.4 days went by and I pined for Steve. Why didn’t he call back? I thought he said he wanted to thank me? Despite my panicked, don’t call me, I’ll call you message, he still didn’t call. On Thursday on the way to work I decided I would call him that night when I got home. It felt a little awkward. Obviously, he didn’t want to call me back…but I was dying to hear the story of how the money clip ended up buried in the sand. I deserved to know ,didn’t I?!
When Tim got home that night he had his serious face on. “I’ve been thinking….” Uh oh…what was this all about? “We should call Steve” he said. I was ecstatic! I immediately called him and he answered. I was overjoyed!! The conversation went a little something like this:Me: Hey Steve…This is Kelly…I was the one who found your wallet…
Steve: OMG! Kelly! I am so glad to hear from you! Thank you SO MUCH for returning my wallet! You have no idea how happy I was to get it back!Me: So, we were on Montauk for a wedding and all my friends are dying to know the story of how you lost your wallet. Do you mind sharing?
Steve: What wedding where you there for??Me: We didn’t end up being there for the same wedding but I said “We kept looking for you throughout the wedding thinking maybe you were there.” I went on to explain how we thanked him for everything we bought throughout the weekend and how he came to the wedding with us. Turns out, he was at the wedding after us.
Steve: Well, I feel like you deserve to hear the truth about what happened….considering you returned my wallet and all….Me (uh oh. Warning bells were going off in my head…) I actually giggled and said…”Let’s hear it”
Throughout the whole conversation, Tim had been leaning on the island listening to a one sided conversation and nodding with a smile as though he was in on it. At one point he suggested I put it on speaker phone but I declined..and good thing because the kids were there. What followed was not speaker-worthy, kid listening conversation.Steve: Okay…so on Friday night we went to the Beer Garden after the rehearsal dinner. Did you go there?
Me: (ah, no…we were getting sloppy at the Sloppy Tuna) No….Steve: So, I meet this chick at the bar, right? And we got talking and she says she likes the beach…and I mean she LIKES the beach, you know? So, I say “Let’s go for a ‘walk’ on the beach….”
Me: Uh huh…Steve: Yeah, so we sit down on the sand and all of a sudden she jumps on me, you know?! And we are going at it…you know?! (Well, this explains why the money clip was smooshed into the sand….)
Me: (OMG)Steve: All of a sudden she gets up and says “I shouldn’t be so forward..I’m sorry” and she got up and ran away.
Me: Oh no!Steve: Yeah….so , I’m sitting there all excited you know…so I have to sit there a bit and wait…if you know what I mean…and my hair was all messed up and stuff. I had to wait to head back to the bar.
Tim: What’s he saying?? I mouth “OMG”.Me: Oh….yeah…that must have been rough
What?? Rough?? Who says this to someone they don’t know?!Steve: So, I go back to the bar and go to get a beer to cool down and realize I don’t have my wallet. So , I think , either I lost my wallet or that chick stole it. But my friends were there so I was able to get some beer.
Me: Oh good…good.Steve: Yeah, so the next day I’m taking pictures…cuz I was in the wedding party…and the bank calls to say that someone found my wallet. The whole group let out a cheer! It was awesome! You have no idea how happy I was!
Me: I am so glad Steve! I kept thinking how I would feel about it if I lost my wallet. It would be horrible!Steve: I feel like the money I had with me is yours. I’d like to send it to you .
Me: OMG no….that’s crazy! That is your money. I am just so excited we got your wallet back to you.I went on to tell Steve how difficult it was to get his wallet back to him and how it felt good to return it to him because it was the right thing.
Steve: I hear you live in Massachusetts…the next time I’m up there we should get together.Me: (omg…) Oh yeah…well, listen, that was a great story and my friends are going to love it! Thanks for sharing!
That was quite a story. And we got our closure with Steve. We don’t think about him anymore. Although I’m a little afraid he might show up at my house someday.The moral of the story though is Do the Right Thing. It will make you feel so good. And you will always have a good story to tell in the end.