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Tale of a lost wallet: Good turn leads to another

At a time when Twin Cities businessman Tom Petters sits in jail charged with perpetrating a multibillion-dollar fraud and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is accused of trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat, it’s refreshing to hear a story of honesty and decency.

On a recent Saturday night, Bonnie Meindl, her family and neighbors decided on the spur of the moment to go to the Mall of America to visit a new store they’d heard a lot about. After parking outside Macy’s, Meindl realized as they entered the mall that something wasn’t right.

“My purse didn’t feel as bulky as usual. I looked inside and my wallet wasn’t there. I didn’t worry at all about it because I’d had to get something out for Steve (her husband) on the way out to the mall, and I thought I’d dropped it on the floor of the car.”

Later, when they returned to the car, the wallet wasn’t there. Meindl’s next thought was that maybe she’d left it at the restaurant where they’d had dinner. Nope. No wallet. At that point, Meindl thought she’d been pickpocketed and prepared for the tedious task of canceling credit cards and planning a trip to DMV for a new driver’s license.

Soon, a surprise
When she got home, however, there was a message on her voicemail from a stranger: “My name is Phyllis, and I’m looking for Bonnie. I have your wallet.”

“I about dropped over,” Meindl said. “I never expected to see it again. I thought, ‘Is this real? If so, this woman is an angel. I told her to take the $10 I had in there, but she wouldn’t. She said she’d lost her wallet once and people had gone to some lengths to return it to her. She was just repaying the favor.”

The Phyllis on the voicemail was Phyllis Mushro, who works in global reservation support for Northwest Airlines. Mushro could identify with Meindl because a few years ago she, too, had lost her wallet — while on business in Singapore.

Like Meindl, she’d retraced her steps, trying to locate her wallet, to no avail. But when she got back to the NWA Singapore office, the secretary said, “I have a Jeremy on the phone for you.”

Another airline employee
Jeremy, an employee of Singapore Air, had found Mushro’s wallet. Looking inside, he’d found her business card and traced her to the Singapore office. “Is that amazing? I had $250 or $300 American equivalent in my wallet. When Jeremy returned my wallet, he wouldn’t accept anything for it. So when Bonnie offered me money, I said, ‘I’m not going to take your money.”

“I was so glad to have found it. When I talked to her, I think she was about to cry tears of joy, not having to cancel credit cards.”

Then came the logistics of reconnecting Meindl with her wallet. Meindl lives in Champlin; Mushro lives in Rosemount.

“She was so cute,” Mushro said. “She said, ‘We’re like Canada and Iowa.’ ”

They decided the good old postal service was the way to go, and the package arrived safe and sound.

Meindl marvels at her good luck that it was Mushro who found her wallet. “What are the chances of finding someone that honest?”

“It was no big deal to me,” Mushro said. “I was just paying it forward.”

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