Good Samaritan Returns Lost Wallet, Adds Extra Cash and Inspiring Note
October 19, 2013
Laura Diers happened to spot the derelict dark brown leather wallet last month along the westbound entrance ramp to U.S. Highway 30 in Ames — partially unfolded in a “V” shape, sitting on its side.
The first unlikely thing she did was stop to investigate and pick it up.
“I guess there wasn’t a ton of thought behind it,” she said.
Inside the wallet Diers found: The driver’s license and college ID for freshman Wes Monroe. A recent receipt for pricey text books. The high school senior photo of Monroe’s girlfriend, Shelby Spencer.
There were no debit or credit cards or cash.
So Diers’ next move was rarer still: She not only mailed the wallet to the address on the driver’s license but composed a thoughtful letter of advice and tucked a $10 bill inside. She even promised that her bible study group of about a dozen worshippers at Cornerstone Church in Ames would pray for him.
Diers figured that college students always need money and encouragement. She Googled Monroe, scanned his Facebook profile: He seemed like a “really nice kid.”
“I know it’s not much, but it’s always nice to have a little extra cash,” she wrote in the letter. “Enjoy a drink with a friend or put a drop of gas in your car.”
Diers, 41, is the mother of four kids in Boone, ranging in age from a toddler to a high school junior.
“I’ve been in those positions where it would’ve been really nice to get some encouragement from somebody,” she explained.
But she also wondered, “Maybe he’ll think I’m just some crazy lady!”
The wallet arrived earlier this month at Monroe’s home address in Johnston, much to the delight of the college student’s mother — her faith in humanity restored.
Monroe rooms in the Iowa State University dorms in Ames and commutes to the Des Moines Area Community College campus in Boone. He explained that one harried morning en route to his psychology class, he stuffed his debit card into his pants pocket at the gas pump but left his wallet on top of his car. (It wasn’t the first time; when he abandoned his wallet in a similar mishap in high school, Monroe was lucky enough to retrace his route and recover it.)
“Yeah, I’m a forgetful person,” he said sheepishly.
So the wallet took a tumble when Monroe turned his car west onto Highway 30.
Monroe considers it “absolutely amazing” that Diers took the time to show such kindness.
“It takes a special individual to go out and do something like that,” he said.
Diers, who juggles a newspaper route with child care duties at her church and other jobs, also included a quote from motivational author Jack Canfield of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” fame:
It’s time to quit waiting for…
Someone to change
The right person to come along
A more favorable horoscope
The new administration to take over
An absence of risk
Someone to discover you
A clear set of instructions
Get on with it already!
The first reaction to this story probably is to take heart, much like Monroe’s mom did — to enjoy at least fleeting restored faith in the average person. These heartwarming tales that crop up help convey a sense that despite all the unavoidable violence and creeps around us, our world tends to be populated with good people trying to do the right things.
But I was even more struck by how the wallet as a symbol happened to connect two people and this notion of lifelong dreams, goals. I’m not much of a “Chicken Soup” guy (as a journalist I’m required to be more acerbic), but I can appreciate this:
Diers at midlife finally has resolved to chase a dream she’s had since age 11: learn how to train horses. Recently she began work as an apprentice trainer at a horse farm near Boone. She was astride a quarter horse when I first phoned to learn more about all this.
Because Diers spies the wallet, she stops to lend her seasoned perspective on dreams and motivation to a young man who happens to be in the sweet spot in life to chart the best possible course for his future.
So the story is not what was in the wallet. It’s about which dreams and ambitions fill Monroe’s head as he carves out his education and career. (He’s dabbling in journalism and communication in his freshman year.) What’s his equivalent to horse-training, and will he seize it now? Or later?
Monroe, by the way, spent the $10 on gas.
“That’s pretty much what I do with all my money — gas or food,” he said.
The act of kindness by Diers and her advice are the longterm investments.
Monroe sat down earlier this week and composed a thank-you note to the woman who found his wallet.
Happy News Source: DesMoinesRegister.com | Photo: The Register
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