Rebecca lost a bag chock full of cash, credit cards and camera equipment on a dirt road in Mississippi three years ago. So she was figuring she probably wouldn’t be getting that back, ever — after all, who finds a bag of cash and returns it to the rightful owner years after they find it? Turns out one man is just that kind of good Samaritan.
Rebecca wrote in with her extraordinary tale, which starts in November 2008 while she was working for an outdoor active travel company as a trip leader. She explains that she’s often in a hurry, trying to pack up a van full of cyclists or hikers to get to the next activity. On the day in question, they’d had along 75-mile ride, heading toward a historic plantation.
I had been riding on a bike with our guests that day while my friend, Courtney, supported us in the van. We got to our final shuttle stop about 20 miles outside of town. It was getting dark and anyone still behind this point was not going to make it in. We hurriedly stripped my and the other riders’ bikes of all bags and water bottles. We threw the bikes on the roof, hopped in the van, and hurried to beat the front riders into the hotel. It was a day we were proud to have finished without a hitch.
As we got to the manor we redistributed all of our guest’s belongings and I noticed that my bags were missing. My heart sunk into the pit of my stomach as I recalled carelessly throwing them off of my bike and onto the ground behind the van.
Living a life on the road I carry very few material possessions, and I had just lost them all. In my Camelback was my wallet: IDs, personal credit/debit cards, corporate credit card, business cards of vendors, petty cash receipts, and about $800 in cash. The bike bag held my other most valuable possessions — my bike tools and my camera with irreplaceable pictures from the last few months. Needless to say, tears began to sting my eyes and my chest grew tight as I fought to hold them back.
I jumped into the van and drove back to our spot trying to hold in the tears by reassuring myself that it would all be there. The bags were gone, I called Courtney and couldn’t hold it in anymore, I lost it. I allowed myself to be upset the entire van ride back to the hotel. The next day I filed a report with the park and with the Natchez police. There was nothing else I could do.
On the morning of January 10, 2012 I heard my phone ringing from far away. I chose to ignore it since if it had been someone I knew, my phone speaks the caller’s name. The message was from Mr. D.T. of Natchez, Miss., something about a package. Having blocked the incident out of my memory, I did not immediately make the connection. After being reminded of it by my boyfriend I anxiously dialed the number. He was right. D.T. had both of my bags.
D.T. had driven by them that evening and threw them into his pick-up truck. He knew they must have belonged to “the people driving around with all those bikes on the roof” and figured he would see us around town. One would assume in a town as small as Natchez you could locate a 15-passenger van hauling a large trailer with room for 12 bikes on each, but our season was over and we were off to Salt Lake City two days later.
Also living in a small town D.T. figured he would read about it in the police reports. He hadn’t found anything of use in the bag (I kept my wallet crammed at the bottom of the camelback underneath my coat and my hydration pack), so he threw it in his “utility” (storage unit) and forgot about it. On the 10th he came across it again and was about to throw it out, but luckily decided he would look inside one last time. With more digging he found my wallet, inside of that he found my business card, and with that my cell phone number.
I faxed D.T. a letter with my current address and asked that he also include his so that I could thank him properly and reimburse him for shipping. My package arrived less than a week later with a note from DT apologizing for not finding me sooner. What an amazingly sweet man, with a good heart.
I have not decided how to thank D.T. for returning my bags. Money seems to be the easiest and most obvious answer and from the few conversations I have had with him he does not strike me as the type to expect or possible even accept a reward. To be honest a check feels somewhat cheap compared to the kindness, honesty, and pure heartedness he has shown me.
What do you say, fair Consumerist readers? Doing someone else a great kindness can be a reward in itself, and from the sound of it, D.T. is just the kind of person who would only expect the same treatment in a similar situation. But then again, money is money.