Lady-readers surely are familiar with how it could happen: Went to a public toilet to powder one's nose, the cellphone in the handbag rang. Opened the handbag, cellphone was under the wallet. Tookout the wallet, put it by the sink, answered the call. Busy talking, left the toilet without the wallet.
Our colleague did not realize she lost it until she was back home. Thinking that her wallet was now history, she then called up her banks to cancel all her ATM cards and credit cards. She also had to look forward to having her citizen ID card and driver's license reissued. If you are Indonesians, you know how 'fun' that can be.
The next day, she took a day off work, and did it. (Yes folks, you have to take a day off to do that).
But then, after all that, guess what:
just two days later, someone came to the office, with her wallet.
Everything is there: All the money, the cards. Nothing is missing.
The person was a cleaning lady at the shopping mall where our colleague lost her wallet. She said a mall-visitor found it, and gave it to her. One day when she was off-duty, she followed the address in our colleague's namecard and went to our office.
She was totally honest with her intention: "Rather than take the money in the wallet and benefit from someone's misfortune, I'd prefer to return the wallet and expect some rewards.." She said. This is not the first time she did it, she added. Our colleague rewarded her handsomely.
So why bother blogging about this?
Well, we were intrigued by what our colleague said after she got her wallet back:
"Ah, " she said, "If only I had faith that someone would return my wallet, I wouldn't have to take a day off and queue all morning just to get my driver's license reissued...".
Ah, yes of course. Not only that, now she has to wait until her new ATM cards and credit cards arrive, because she had cancelled them all.
Ah, if only she had a little faith.
But should we? After all, we live in Jakarta, and surely the lady who returned the wallet is a rare breed. Or not?
Time for yet another silly experiment:
We prepared 10 wallets. Filled it with money and we would leave it at public places around town. Cafes, restaurants, shopping malls.
We will then see, how many will find their way back to us.
Here is how it is done:
We asked our office assistant to buy 10 cheap wallets. (Decent-looking though. The fake leather type). In each of them we put Rp.100.000 in small notes (just so they look a bit bulky). To make them more genuine, our assistant cut up some credit card pictures from brochures we always get in our mail, and laminated them. At a glance, they did look real.
As a final touch: to help the finders to find us, we put a name card and we wrote at the back (in Bahasa Indonesia of course):
"If you found this wallet, please call xxxxxxx or kindly return it to the address in the namecard. Reward will be given".
Last weekend we separately went around town with our family and left the wallets at the spots of our choice.
It was fun and not always easy. There were occasions where the waiters/waitresses of restaurants and cafes noticed the left-wallets right away and returned them to us on the spot. Or one little girl at a food court who screamed: "Maaaaaaaaaaaaam, you leeeeft your waaaaaaaaaalleeeeeeeeeeet..... !!!"
That's just sweet. It's one of those rare days when you feel that Jakartans are sweet people and Jakarta is a great place to live.
(For the sake of the experiment, however, those do not count. So we went on to find some other places to leave the wallets.)
And the result?
Don't know yet. We just did it last weekend. Kindly comeback next week, hopefully we have something to tell.
Meanwhile, if you happened to find a wallet, it won't hurt to return it to the rightful owner. If it was one of ours, then you help to improve our statistics.
If it wasn't, then even better: you have done someone a really great favor.
That will make you one of the sweet people who make the city a great place to live.