My headlights shone on something glittering in the blackness of morning as I pulled into my parking space under the tree. These days the station is dark for the early trains with the exception of some overhead lamps on the platform. I was early for the train and curious as to what this could be, so I exited my truck with the lights still on and kicked back some of the fallen leaves. There below me lay a woman’s tan wallet with the gold clasp that had originally caught my attention. I picked it up and returned to the truck. Upon inspecting it, I found a driver’s license inside listing the local address of someone whose first name was Mary. By now the train was coming, so I grabbed my bag and put the wallet inside.
Once settled in my seat on the train, my attention returned again to the wallet. Mary’s license listed her age as the same as mine. The contents were meager: a bank card, a credit card a few family photos, some change in the purse, a few singles in the billfold section and a neatly folded new $10 bill. I also noticed that the license was about to expire.
Now I had a choice. If I gave it to the conductor he would bring it to the lost-and-found in Hoboken Station, never to be seen again because of the size of the lost-and-found. I could just put it back where I found it when I got home, or I could try to look up Mary and call her to tell her I found her wallet. I was sure she would like it back.
During my lunch, I decided to give it a try. Sure enough, she was pretty easy to find, since I had her home address, name, etc. So I called the number I had and got an answering machine. I left a message with my name and number and hoped I had the right person. I didn’t want to just show up at the house or apartment and went about the rest of my day. During the ride home my phone rang around Middletown, and there was a nice lady on the phone and the number I had called came up on my phone. I answered the phone, saying, “Hello, Mary?” Then the story took an unexpected turn.
The woman on the phone hesitated and then said to me, “No sir, this is Mary’s daughter.” I explained my story and she was very pleasant. She then went on to explain that Mary had suddenly passed away a few weeks earlier. Now I hesitated with my response and offered my condolences. She said she would still like the wallet back as a memento, so I said, “Sure, but can you describe it?” She described it down to a gold clasp and then said something else. “I will tell you that there is a crisp new $10 bill folded up inside the wallet, if it is still there. My grandfather gave that to her so she would never be without money.”
Well, that sealed it. I told her I could wait for her in the Port Jervis Station and described myself and my truck.
As I stepped off the train here to greet me was a 30ish woman who called me by name. I shook her hand and then gave her the wallet. She then threw her arms around me and gave me the longest hug. She went on to say how much this meant to her to have this back. She offered me the $10 bill for luck and I turned it down.
She left with a smile. I left the parking lot that night with a smile as well, for doing a good deed.