What’s it like to lose a wallet

In one word, it sucks. It sucks big time. I am writing about it, while it is still fresh in my memory. I am generally very careful with my wallet and keep doing random pocket checks. During one such random check on my way to the BART station (San Francisco subway, stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit) this morning, I couldn’t feel anything in my front pocket.  I slipped in my fingers to confirm my worst fears, my wallet was gone!

I am going to come clean here, I suffer from severe anxiety and my first reaction was to hyper-ventilate. I managed to whip out my phone from my other pocket and dialed Akka’s number. Gasping for breath, I tried to tell her what had happened.

Akka is the most level-headed person I know. She is the Krishna to my Arjuna, the Tenali Raman to my Krishnadevaraya, the Chanakya to my Chandragupta Maurya. You get it, right? I basically turn to her for advice.

“Okay, first, BREATHE!”, she said. “Second, come right back home and take some cash from me, this is fixable”. “Kay”, I managed to say through all my incisive breathing. I looked around as I walked back home, a five minute walk took me 10 minutes to complete!

Akka then instructed me to call the bank and cancel my card, while she worked on canceling my clipper card that was on auto-load. (For those of you who don’t know, a clipper card is a smart card, that needs to be tapped at the entrance of the subway. Most cards need to be loaded with money at vending booths, but I wanted my clipper card to be smarter and had linked my bank account to it, so that every time it ran out of money, the card would be automatically loaded).

I was pleasantly surprised when the Bank Teller told me that somebody had already called in to report that my card was missing. Mind you, this was just within 10 minutes of me losing my wallet and somebody had found it, and was considerate enough to actually call my bank to cancel my card! Whew! Humanity existed!

“So that’s all with all the immediate money, right?”, Akka asked. “Yeah! That’s it!”, I said, feeling much, much better after the call. “Being poor is great!”, I said to her, “I don’t have much to lose!”. I instantly regretted saying that. I mean sure, I only had under $4k in my account, but I had worked crazy hard earning that money. I had worked during Winter Break when all my friends had gone back to India to enjoy with their family. Heck, my mom had come over to SF and I couldn’t spend time with her. Why? Because I was busy earning money that would go towards my tuition…

I got to work feeling super low, because now I would have had to spend time re-constructing my wallet, and what saddened me most is that, the wallet itself was lovely and fitted in my pocket so nice and snug. Moreover, it was gifted to me by Akka. But here’s the thing, my wallet actually had the words “I’m feeling lucky”, inscribed on it. (Perks of having a sister working at Google – you got snugly fitting wallets as gifts), so I had this gut feeling that my wallet would find it’s way back to me.

I called up USF Public Safety to see if a lost ID was reported, but no luck there. By the end of the day I had lost all hopes, but then, around 4, I got an email from a person who claimed to have found my wallet, and had gotten in touch to confirm it.

I was blown by the astute detective skills! This person had managed to find my usfca.edu id. Maybe they got it off my LinkedIn? I can’t think of any other place I have mentioned that particular id.

Turns out, this person stayed in my neighborhood and had found my wallet on their way to the BART station. I picked up my wallet from their place and profusely thanked them and gave them a small thank you note and a bar of my favorite chocolate as a token of gratitude. They don’t make people like that anymore.

I had replaced most of the things in my wallet, including my USF ID card, but was just glad to have my wallet back because of the sentiments attributed with it.

This incident changed one perspective in Life. Sure, I would have also returned a lost wallet, but only because would have felt guilty and it would have hurt my conscience. The intentions thus far were purely selfish.  I am now going to return lost items not because wouldn’t be able to live with myself, but because the concerned person may have worked crazy hard for it…


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