Part of being a good mom - in my humble opinion - is teaching your children right from wrong. I can talk about it all I want, but if I don't show the same values that I preach to them, I may as well save my breath. That and I'd like to think that I'm a halfway decent person.
On Sunday, Mister Man and I headed to Starbucks after dropping Little Miss at Sunday school (he goes to Catholic school, she doesn't) so that he could work on his book report. As we headed back to our car to pick her up, I saw a wallet lying in the street near my car. It was flipped open, and I could see that it contained a driver's license. I stopped and looked around, but there was no likely owner in sight. I picked up the wallet and looked through it quickly, hoping to see something with a phone number on it, all the while explaining to Mister Man what I was doing.
Inside were many credit cards and a driver's license, but no cash. My heart sank as I realized someone had probably had her wallet stolen, the cash grabbed, and the wallet then discarded. I found a business card for what looked like her husband, but the number wasn't valid. I had no way of knowing what store the woman had entered, nor could I call her. I took a deep breath and put the wallet in my car as we drove off to pick up Little Miss from Sunday school.
My phone has GPS. I had an address from the driver's license. Ergo, I could drop it off with the owner - assuming that I could verify it was still her house and that I wasn't now dropping off her wallet with strangers. I plugged the address into my GPS and discovered a beautiful part of town that I had never visited before. But I couldn't find 119 - the woman's address. I found 1, 6, 7, and up to 19, but there was nothing in the 100s. I drove all around the streets hoping to stumble upon her house but failing miserably. After ten minutes of aimlessly driving, with the wee ones worrying that I was going to get lost (ha! I have an excellent sense of direction, thank you), I gave up.
I pondered my next move and realized that I could drop the wallet with the police department. They have far more resources to return the wallet than I do. With a sigh of relief, I headed in that direction, mentally rehearsing the story so that I could explain clearly what had happened and try to make it clear why I was waiting over an hour before turning in the wallet I'd found. Interestingly, the police officer I spoke to was completely fine with what I'd done and impressed that I'd tried to drive to her house. I've lost my wallet before - remember? - I would hope that someone in the future would do the right thing just like my Good Samaritan did. At her request, I left my name and phone number.
A few hours later, I received a call from the woman whose wallet I'd found. She was beyond grateful. Her wallet hadn't been stolen; she had dropped it getting out of her car, and no money was missing. In fact, she hadn't even realized her wallet was missing until the police had called her. More than having her credit cards and the like returned, she was grateful to get her wallet back. The wallet had great sentimental value to her, and that was what had her nearly crying. As I missed the call because the wee ones and I were playing in the snow, she had left a voicemail with this information. As I played it back on speakerphone for the wee ones, their eyes grew round.
Little Miss turned to me and said, "Mommy, it feels good to do the right thing. I'm happy she has her wallet back." And though the woman asked for my address in the voicemail for what I assume was some sort of a thank you reward, Little Miss's reaction is all the reward I need.