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An Alberta man says his faith in humanity has been restored after his lost wallet with credit cards and more than $1,000 in cash was found in Newfoundland by a Nova Scotian tourist and mailed back to him.
Bob Gillard said he made an eight-day trip to Newfoundland with his family for his 60th birthday to see the sights and make a pilgrimage to Englee, a small fishing village on the northern peninsula where his grandfather was born.
On June 28, the family was hiking at the Green Gardens trail in Gros Morne National Park when Gillard lost the wallet out of an inside jacket pocket after he took the jacket off and tied it around his waist. He didn’t realize he had dropped it until half an hour later.
Retracing their route proved fruitless. He reported the lost wallet to a Parks Canada staff member, who told him not to lose hope because “this is Newfoundland.”
Beside the cash and credit cards, the wallet contained ID, his office building access card and a business card.
He carried on with the trip, which he said he greatly enjoyed, and returned to Alberta on July 7.
"There is a lot of nonsense in the world, and it does restore some faith in what people are about.” — Bob Gillard
On July 25, he was on his way to work when he noticed on his phone that he had a voicemail, text and email from Lukas Wentzell of Nova Scotia, who found the wallet that morning while hiking with his girlfriend. He told Gillard that everything was intact but wet, and that he would leave it as the park entrance building.
Gillard said he called Wentzell back and told him to keep the cash in appreciation of his honesty and mail everything else back.
Wentzell refused to keep the cash and also refused a follow-up suggestion from Gillard that he keep half.
He did concede to using some of the money to buy lunch, and used some to send the wallet back by courier.
Gillard said he wanted to recognize Wentzell with more than a thank you, so wrote a letter to the editor of newspapers in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, and made a $943.20 donation — the amount that he received back — in Wentzell’s name to the Metro Food Bank Society.
“If you know or meet Lukas Wentzell, give him my thanks and a pat on the back with the knowledge you can trust him with your wallet,” Gillard wrote in the letter. “If you’re really inspired, please buy him lunch.”
In an interview, Gillard said he was surprised that the wallet lay unnoticed for so long, but even more so that it came back with everything.
“I was quite pleased and astonished, quite frankly,” he said. “That just shows the guy’s level of honesty and integrity, which is refreshing in this day and age. I was quite impressed.”
He said there it’s “nice to see somebody doing the right thing. There is a lot of nonsense in the world, and it does restore some faith in what people are about.”
Wentzell declined an interview but said in a text he received notice from Feed Nova of the donation in his name, and “couldn’t have asked for a better outcome than that.”