BY JAMES RISDON
An Islander is my new favourite superhero - even though he or she and I have never met.
During a family vacation at Cavendish beach in August, I noticed late one night that my wallet was missing from its usual place. After quickly searching through every nook and cranny of my aging SUV and turning everything in my tent upside down, the sickening reality finally hit home.
I had lost my wallet.
In it was about $250 in cash, a credit card, a driver's license, bank cards, my pleasure craft operator's license, a library card, a bunch of receipts, and assorted junk and a bit of change.
Under normal circumstances, the loss of this wallet would be annoying but I would at least have access to my bank. On vacation, it meant time wasted cancelling cards and dealing with the difficulty of getting money without identification far away from home.
I racked my brain. Where had I last seen my wallet?
And then, it came to me. The image of my black wallet on a black seat cover in a shopping cart at the Atlantic Superstore in Charlottetown. I had stopped there to buy groceries at about 2 p.m., more than nine hours ago.
Despite the hour, I got into my car and drove through the night with a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. Someone had undoubtedly found the wallet and taken it, pocketing the cash, maybe even using the ID cards to steal my identity. Maybe they'd just taken the cash and tossed the wallet nearby.
Maybe, I thought, I'd be able to recoup the cards and wallet, even if the cash was gone.
I got to the store in Charlottetown at 12:02 a.m. A night supervisor referred me to a Superstore employee, a woman, who was clearly about to walk out the door after her shift. I explained the situation and hurriedly described my wallet to her.
“James?” she asked.
Yes! Yes, my name is James.
The wallet had been found by a Superstore employee who gathers shopping carts from the parking lot and brings them back into the store. That employee had brought the wallet in and it had been put in the store's safe.
The woman brought it to me.
There are times when it's hard to believe one's own good luck. I opened the wallet, expecting the money to have been taken, maybe the credit card too.
But no. Everything was still there. The money, the credit card, the change, the ID. Even the receipts and junk.
I offered to leave a tip for the store employee who found the wallet and kept it safe for me but I was told that store does not allow for such rewards to its employees. I never even learnt this man or woman or teenager's name.
So, I'm left with a mystery.
Whoever you are, I can't thank you personally or reward you for your kindness and decency. I can only hope that The Guardian will print this letter and that you will recognize yourself and know your honesty was very, very much appreciated.
Your decision to act with integrity allowed my family to carry on with our vacation. My daughters and grand-daughter got to enjoy the waterslides and swimming pool and rides at the Shining Waters Family Fun Park, munch on the best pizza we've ever had at the Glasgow Glen Farm, lap up Cows ice cream at the Cavendish Boardwalk, and relax with our guitars and ukulele around the campfire at Cavendish beach in Prince Edward Island National Park. We even bought P.E.I. dirt shirts and took in a ceilidh in Stanley Bridge.
Most of all, though, we're taking back home with us the memory of Island decency and goodness, a place where someone will find your wallet filled with money and return it without batting an eye.
That's something very special in today's world. And so, for that reason, you are my new hero.
Thank you for leaving me and my family with wonderful memories of a great vacation and the wonderful feeling that comes from knowing decency is still alive and well on Prince Edward Island.
Thank you for being you.
- James Risdon is a resident of Bathurst, New Brunswick, who recently spent some holidays with his family on Prince Edward Island.