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Lost a Wallet, Found a Good Samaritan

A grateful columnist says thank you for a selfless act after she left her wallet at the mall.

It’s easy to lose your way in the world, isn’t it?

Time and again – especially when I’m tired or dejected – I wonder how it is we all keep moving forward.

All I really need to do, though, is read Mitch Smith’s story in The Chicago Tribune, about an elderly couple who lost their way in Chicago, only to find their way with some generous help from the complete strangers who put them in a cab and paid their fare.

Sappy? Sure. Still, I think it’s important to remember that each of us loses our way at various times in life, and that one of the easiest ways to find our way back is by reaching out to others.

I was the recipient of a Good Samaritan’s assistance myself last week, after a trip to Westfield Old Orchard Mall.

Thirty minutes after I got home, the dog started barking, letting me know there was someone at the door. I opened it to find a man dressed in a suit, his car running at the curb. In his hands, he was holding my wallet.

“Were you missing this?” he asked.

I was stunned. He could tell.

“Did you know this was missing?” he repeated, handing the wallet over. I tried to place him—or at least figure out how he’d gotten my wallet. As he began walking toward his car, he explained.

“You backed over it in the parking lot. I tried to chase you down, but you must have been in a hurry, and I couldn’t catch you at the light.”

I held the wallet in my hands, slowly realizing I must have dropped it just outside my car when I pulled out from my spot near Nordstrom. Waiting to pull in, he had seen it all.

“Thank you,” I stammered.

“I figured you’d probably need it,” he said, adding, “I didn’t take anything!”

“Oh, of course not!" I said, embarrassed he'd even suggest I would think that. "Let me…” I began.

But before I could say another word, he raised his hand. “I’m just glad I found you.” Then he continued toward his car.

“Can I at least ask your name?” I said.

Now it was his turn to look embarrassed.

“Please?” I asked. I wanted to thank him properly, but I had no cash, no fresh-squeezed lemonade, not even a Diet Coke to offer.

“It’s Ben Perks,” he said.

“Do you live nearby?” I asked.

“Actually, Northfield,” he said, waving.

Northfield? He left Old Orchard to drive a wallet to Evanston during rush hour?

“You drove this here and you live in Northfield?” I exclaimed.

He simply raised his empty hands and continued to smile.

And so, to Ben Perks of Northfield—and to all the anonymous Good Samaritans who do good deeds every day—you are truly appreciated.

c b July 20, 2012 at 06:57 AM
16 years ago, My boyfriend lost his wallet at the Vernon Hills Hawthorn Mall around Christmas time and we were expecting our first baby. We were so bummed out and when we got home at my boyfriend's in Waukegan, his brother said a guy in a luxury car, from Lake Forest, dropped it off. We were so grateful and I wish we were able to thank him ourselves and ask for his name. I still feel very lucky and grateful for that great man.
Richard Schulte July 21, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Christine Wolf: "It’s easy to lose your way in the world, isn’t it? Time and again – especially when I’m tired or dejected – I wonder how it is we all keep moving forward." In late October, 2008, my business died-it went down 90 percent and the phone didn't ring for 7 months. The business still hasn't recovered much. In February 2012, I lost my home in Evanston to foreclosure and was homeless for 4 months-I slept on the floor of a relatives home). In April 2012, I was diagnosed with cancer. (And there were many other bad things that happened to me too, but I won't bore you with it all.) Through it all, I never got "tired or dejected", never lost hope and never stopped smiling. Frankly, I don't understand the concept of being dejected or not being upbeat. If my home was not foreclosed on, I wouldn't have went to the doctor and the doctor wouldn't have found the cancer. Hence, the foreclosure may have saved my life. Now, I live in Florida and the cancer is gone. Business has improved slightly. Every day is a blessing. Soon enough you will be attending a funeral where you are the guest of honor and the one who gets put in the ground afterwards. Don't waste you life feeling "dejected"-what's past is past and tomorrow is a new day. Feeling positive and optimistic about life is a learned behavior. Who did I learn that from? Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura.
Christine Wolf August 03, 2012 at 12:58 PM
That's a great story.

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