Just nice

When we walking home from the Paris Marathon 20 days ago, we found a wallet in the street right around the corner from our house. We picked it up and took it home. Upon opening it, we discovered its owner (Horst) was German. It had a few IDs, credit cards, and 50 euros hidden in a pocket. I had his name, but an address wasn’t jumping out at me. What to do? Naturally, search for Horst on the internet.

I found him (or at least who I thought he was), his address, and his phone number. Called him twice. No answer. When I was searching for him,  google also returned a lot of marathon results. Could he have run the marathon as well? Yes – he finished 35 minutes after me (he is 20 years my senior). Ok, what to do…

A day or two later I told a German colleague about it – he pointed out that the address was on the back of the ID card. Duh. Sent a letter to the address (in German and English) – “I found something of yours in Paris, call or email to retrieve it”.  A few days later, I got an email:

Hallo Tom, Herzlichen Dank für den Fund meiner Geldbörse und Ihre Info dazu. Ich habe die Geldbörse am Sonnabend ca. 16.30 zwischen der Metrostation Bir Hakim und den Bois de Boulogne, Nähe Porte de Dauphine verloren. Oder sie wurde in der Metro gestohlen ? Inhalt: Personalausweis, Führerschein, EC-Card Commerzbank, EC-Card Sparkasse, Mastercard, div Kundenkarten, ca 100-150 € plus 50,00 €. im Nebenfach Bitte senden Sie mir alles zu und behalten Sie bitte 50,00 € für Ihre Bemühungen. Sollte das Geld fehlen, bitte nennen Sie mir Ihre Bankverbindung. Ich überweise Ihnen den Betrag. Ich  war mit meiner Frau zum Paris-Marathon in der Stadt. Es war sehr schön und das Wetter günstig. Vielen herzlichen Dank und freundliche Grüße

As you can see (translate it yourself here) he lost his wallet at the Metro station near La Tour Eiffel or on “our” bridge, the Pont de Bir Hakeim. Everything was there except the €100-150. I suspect he had his pocket picked and the culprit threw it under a car near our house. The next day the car moved and voila! we found it.

I had responded to his email: Horst, Ich bin froh, zu empfangen Ihre E-Mail haben! Ich fand Ihren Geldbeutel der Nähe meiner Heimat, als ich nach Hause ging aus dem Marathon (meine Frau und ich lief es auch) – ca. 15h Sonntag. Wir sind direkt an der Pont de Bir Hakeim auf dem Weg nach Bois Bologne. Es war in der Straße: Ich glaube, jemand hatte sie gestohlen und warf ihn unter einem Auto. Wenn das Auto bewegt, konnte ich sehen, Ihren Geldbeutel. Es leider keine $ 150 Euro, sondern 50 $ und Veränderung. Alle IDs und Karten zu sein scheinen intakt. Anyway, we went to La Poste and mailed it to him the next day.

Sure enough, we received a package from Horst and Birgit today — a nice note, picture, chocolates and a handmade Waldenburger Topferei plate made in the Alsenburger region. Why am I sharing this? It’s nice! I feel like we have a new friend in Germany. Thought I’d share.

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Categories: Tom's Travels | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Just nice

  1. Linda

    Hi Tom,

    I love your story! Thank you for sharing it After the Boston explosions, I heard some great people stories as well. I heard Bostonians were giving out their jackets & wrapping runners in blanket. My brother-in-law ran the race & he gave 2 strangers a ride to their hotels. It is good to hear the positive stories that happen during the times that we need people the most.

    I’d love to hear more about your & Kelley’s race. I’m still running once a week up the hill in Middleton Hills with Jessica Anderson. I ran a half marathon last Saturday in Cottage Grove as a fundraiser for Parkinson’s disease. Two women whom I have never met caught up with me when I was walking (around mile 11). They said,, “You can’t walk now. You’ve been leading us this entire race. Come on, run with us. And I did.

    P.S. Tell Elizabeth that I saw the article in the AG magazine. She did a great job.

  2. Karen Hoffmeier

    Sounds like a happy ending for everyone. I’m sure he was very grateful to have his personal things returned. The dish and the chocolates look very nice indeed!! Hope you are all having a great weekend.

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