Lost wallet turns into a story worth celebrating

BRATTLEBORO — A couple of weeks ago, I unknowingly dropped my wallet while carrying my young daughter out of Tulip Cafe in Brattleboro. We crossed the street to go into Altiplano, and I didn't realize my wallet was missing for about 10 minutes.

We made a hasty exit to run back across the street. Before going back into the café, I was greeted by two onlookers. They'd noticed that my wallet had fallen out of my pocket just outside the door. A third man, who was nowhere in sight, had picked it up, promising to bring it to the police station.

My daughter and I hurried off, but after waiting at the station for a while to no avail, I left my name and phone number and started to head home. As I was buckling my daughter into her car seat, the police dispatcher ran outside to say he was on the phone with Walter French, a lawyer in town who'd found my wallet and had it with him at his office on Elliot Street.

The police dispatcher's face echoed my surprise. A wallet first lost, then found, and quickly returned isn't a story you hear every day.

Too often, today's headlines report one disaster after another: perpetual war, ongoing political battles, continued economic hardship, impending environmental catastrophe. Sometimes, when confronted with the enormity of these problems, I'm filled with despair. I forget there are also stories that are worth celebrating every day.

Thank you to the customers and staff at Tulip Cafe, to the Brattleboro police dispatchers, and - especially - to Walter French, for helping retrieve my wallet and reminding me about the simple kindness of strangers.

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