Saturday, Dec. 17, 2005
Man who found wallet sought to repay kindness shown to him
Paula Rigsbee believes in angels on earth.
In fact, she’s convinced she found hers recently in the form of a Northeast Richland electrician.
The West Columbia woman’s story took place last weekend, when she was traveling to Greenwood to visit her mother.
Rigsbee, who works in the histology lab at Palmetto Health Baptist, had stopped at a convenience store on her way out of town to fill up her tank. But she left the station unaware she had dropped her wallet from the front pocket of her jean jacket.
“I didn’t know I had done that,” Rigsbee said. “I didn’t realize it was missing until I got almost home because I didn’t need it.”
Once she did, she frantically called her mother asking her to check the couches at her home. But that search and Rigsbee’s own inspection of her car turned up empty.
Only after arriving home did she find a note on her front door from a stranger saying he had found the wallet and that he had left it in her mailbox.
“All my money was there. Nothing was missing. Nothing,” Rigsbee said. “I don’t know if I cried harder at losing it or at getting it back.”
She eventually learned that her “angel” was Andre Williams, a Northeast Richland electrician.
Williams was picking up a friend, Lavell Wilson, in West Columbia on the way to complete a job in Blythewood. The two had stopped by the same convenience store Rigsbee stopped at to get some coffee. On his way out, Williams stepped on something. When he looked down, he discovered the wallet.
“We were trying to figure out what to do,” he said.
After locating Rigsbee’s driver’s license, Williams — who was unfamiliar with the area — spent nearly an hour looking for Rigsbee’s home where he left the note and the wallet.
“That was it,” he said.
Rigsbee was somewhat less matter-of-fact about the goodwill gesture.
“If he had been there when I got home, I probably would have married him,” she said. “It’s encouraging to know there are still people like that. You don’t see them everyday and you don’t always hear about them. I wouldn’t get rid of this note for anything in the world.”
For his part, Williams said he was just offering the same kindness that’s been shown to him.
“There are a lot of good folks in the world,” he said. “I do good because a lot of good has been done to me.”
Saturday, Nov. 19, 2005
A New York City jeweler is feeling thankful this weekend for the honesty of a cab driver thousands of miles away.
Jeweler Eric Austein was in a cab in the Los Angeles area on Wednesday, when he accidentally left behind a pouch containing $350,000 in diamonds.
The driver, 40 year-old Haider Sediqi, discovered the pouch. Inside there was also a cell phone bill, which helped the cabbie track down Austein.
Luckily, Austein hadn’t boarded his flight for New York yet and was able to claim his precious cargo.
Sediqi says it never occurred to him to keep the diamonds.
Austein has promised a reward.
Thursday, Oct. 27, 2005
This is a good-news story about lost rings from a marriage of 63 years and an honest finder and a happy coincidence.
Early last week, Wanda Maloney, 84, lost her wedding ring and attached diamond engagement ring. She noticed they were missing as she went out to dinner with her son and his family at Fitch’s Chophouse, 5957 McKee Road, Fitchburg.
She felt terrible. Her husband, James, died in January. They would have celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary next month.
“I was so anxious to get it back, because I missed it so,” she said.
She searched her home and called the places she’d been. No luck.
On Friday morning, Darren Schauf, 39, wanted a cup of coffee and decided to walk from his job at Glacier Consulting Group, a small market research firm, to nearby Barriques Market, which is adjacent to Fitch’s.
He spotted the rings, a bit battered, in a parking spot by the restaurant’s front door. He tucked them in his pocket.
On Friday afternoon, Maloney called Capital Newspapers to buy a classified ad seeking her lost rings. About 10 minutes later, Schauf called to place a found ad.
Arlene Staff, a customer service representative, happened to answer both calls and put lost and found together. Maloney described her rings to Schauf and drove right over to his office.
“It was my miracle for the day,” she said. “I was very fortunate. It shows there are good people left in the world.”
Her fingers are thinner than they used to be, and she thinks the rings slipped off when she reached down to grab her seat belt, then fell out when she opened the car door.
Schauf, 39, a husband of two years who always wears his own ring, refused the reward Maloney offered.
So, on Tuesday, Maloney returned to his office, wearing her resized and repolished rings and bearing a box of homemade oatmeal, date, raisin, walnut and chocolate chip cookies for Schauf.
“It made me feel good,” he said.
Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2005
A retired engineer who finally handed back a school library book he had borrowed more than 60 years ago has been spared £300-plus in unpaid fines.
Michael Taylor, 78, cleared his conscience and returned the science book when he attended a reunion of old pupils at Woodbridge School in Suffolk.
Mr Taylor, who lives in Woodbridge, took the book home on the last day of term in 1943 as a reminder of school.
But he admitted it was the crest he admired and never read the book.
The book, published in 1938 called You And The Universe by Paul Karlson, lay at home gathering dust until Mr Taylor came across it hidden among his possessions as he was painting his study this year.
He said his wife Mary warned him there would be a price to pay for keeping the book for 62 years.
But when he arrived at the Old Woodbridgians Society dinner last Saturday clutching the book, its president Mike Weaver, let him off the £300-plus in unpaid fines.
Mr Taylor said: “I would not go as far as to say I had stolen it.
“It was borrowed because I liked the badge inside and I wanted it to remind me of my schooldays.
“I have never read it and I don’t suppose I’ve opened it since I took it home.
“I told Michael Weaver that it was my 70th anniversary of joining the school and I had this book I wanted to hand back. Everyone had a good laugh about it.”
Tuesday, Sep. 27, 2005
How about this for some good news? We’ve been on a starvation diet lately.
A local family is being warmed by the kindness of strangers, even though this comes at a time of sadness for them. They’ve asked I not use the family name.
I heard the story from Laurie Beth Albert, of Ohio, whose mother died here in August. Over the Labor Day weekend, the family held a garage sale at her home in the town of Onondaga.
One of the items on sale was a purse.
“A woman picked up a purse she liked, bought it and left,” Laurie explains. “Later that evening, she came back, with a man; they had found my mother’s bank envelope in the purse.”
There was $6,900 in the envelope.
“We were in awe,” Laurie says of her and her sisters. “We couldn’t believe someone would do that. So much so, we forgot to get the woman’s name.”
The family wants to correct that mistake. “We want to contact her so we can acknowledge what she did,” Laurie says.
She calls finding the money a blessing: “At the time, all of my mother’s money was tied up in the estate.”
Will this good neighbor step forward?
Friday, Sep. 23, 2005
A good Samaritan who turned in to police $10,000 lying in a Malvern street says he wants no reward.
Jatendra Chirag, 24, was on his way to work in the city yesterday afternoon when he saw bundles of cash peeping out of an envelope by the side of Dandenong Road in Malvern.
Mr Chirag couldn’t believe his eyes. In front of him was $10,000, neatly bundled in $100 notes.
“I was surprised, I was shocked. The first thing I thought was it might be fake money. It’s unusual to see money in $100 notes,” he said.
The customer service officer from Malvern picked up the money and took it to work, but he was always clear about what he would do – return the money to police in the hope it would get back to its owner.
“Put it this way _ if I had lost 10 grand, how would I feel? I would be devastated. I wouldn’t like someone else to be in that situation. I just wanted to return that money to whom it belonged, that was all.”
Mr Chirag didn’t tell anyone at work about his find. After work, just before midnight, he rushed to Malvern police station.
Meanwhile, an elderly Malvern man had reported to police that he had lost $10,000 he had just withdrawn from the Commonwealth Bank in Carnegie. The money fell out of his pocket when he tripped near the corner of Station Street and Dandenong Road.
The man, who is in his 60s and spoke only Russian, was using a walking frame. Police had to call an interpreter to help the man explain what had happened.
The man was ecstatic when police phoned him but offered Mr Chirag no reward.
But the lucky finder said the thought of a reward never crossed his mind. “I feel good that I did the right thing . . . he must have worked a lot of years for that money,” Mr Chirag said.
Acting Sergeant Andrew Twining of Malvern Police said the cash stash had shocked police. “It’s terrific. We don’t normally get large sums of money. We get wallets containing small amounts of money handed in. But to have a sum of this quantity handed in just renews your faith in people.”
Thursday, Aug. 25, 2005
A homeless woman living at a Salvation Army shelter in Tampa with her five children found and returned a purse containing $800 in cash and two paychecks, according to a report.
Canesha Blackman, 24, was on her way to the Polk County Government Center for a bus pass when she found the purse in the parking lot. But instead of keeping the cash, she turned the purse into a worker inside the building.
“People ask me, ‘What were you thinking?'” Blackman said. “If it was my money, I would be crying if I didn’t get it back,”
Sandy Scherer said she was surprised to hear that the person who turned in her purse at the front desk of Polk Public Works was a homeless woman.
The sheriff’s deputy tracked down Blackman and offered her a reward for the good deed, according to the report.
“It still is hard,” Blackman said. “I still don’t have anything, but I still have my kids, so that’s the main thing.”
Tuesday, Jul. 26, 2005
A New York City cab driver is being commended for his honesty. Last week when a passenger got out of his cab – that passenger accidentally left behind a bag filled with jewelry – worth more than $200,000. Today it is back with its rightful owner thanks to that cab driver.
A pair of 10-carat diamond bracelets worth $23,000, a 6-carat emerald cut diamond ring valued at $70,000 and a vintage Cartier watch that’s, well, priceless.
Now imagine leaving all that jewelry, and much more, in the back of a cab. Anthony Labate doesn’t have to imagine. Last week, that’s exactly what he did.
Anthony LaBate, Brooklyn Resident: “I pictured someone wearing my jewelry and dancing around the house with it.”
Labate can laugh about it now because he got all the jewelry back.
Anthony LaBate, Brooklyn Resident: “I was crying with happiness this time, because I just couldn’t believe it was just, just amazing that it was there.”
Labate can thank taxi driver Jean L. Jean-Louis. After dropping off Labate at his Brooklyn home, the 47-year-old cabbie found the Louis Vuitton caseful of jewels in the back of his taxi as he loaded up the luggage of his next passenger.
He took the jewels home, never looked in the box, and waited for the phone call.
Jean L. Jean Louis, Taxi Driver: “I told my wife I know where I dropped him off and that the next day, a Saturday, I was going to take the box to him.”
And when Jean-Louis hand delivered the jewels, Labate thanked him profusely, gave him a gift and yes, cried once more.
Anthony LaBate: “I just couldn’t believe that I got it back.”
The Taxi and Limo Commission honored Jean-Louis with a plaque. The 21-year-cabbie will receive another award at a driver recognition dinner in September.
Saturday, Jun. 25, 2005
Leslee Hobson isn’t just lucky when it comes to lottery tickets. She is lucky she buys her coffee from John Martin each morning.
Hobson brought three Powerball tickets into the Circle K convenience store in Stayton on May 29.
Martin, a clerk at the store, went through the tickets and returned her winnings of $3. One of the tickets, however, couldn’t be processed.
“Something came up on the screen on the Lottery machine I’d never seen before,” Martin said. “It said, ‘This is not a ticket.'”
Hobson left with her coffee and Martin tossed the tickets, but the message stayed on the lottery machine. When Martin looked closer, he saw that the prize had to be picked up at the Lottery office.
He retrieved the ticket and checked the numbers. Hobson had won $100,000.
Not knowing where to find her, but knowing she came into the Circle K each morning, he pocketed the ticket and waited for the next day when Hobson came in.
Hobson was in skeptical at first: “I told him, ‘This is Memorial Day, not April Fool’s Day. I don’t believe you.'”
To Martin, keeping the ticket would have been the same as stealing.
“It wouldn’t have been worth the $100,000 to me,” he said. “I would have had to live with it. That would have made the money not worth anything.”
Hobson gave Martin a $200 tip after he returned her lottery ticket.
Saturday, Jun. 18, 2005
A Brentwood man will not be fined for a library book that was due when Calvin Coolidge was president, the Oakland Public Library announced Friday.
The book, “Kim” by Rudyard Kipling, was due back to the Melrose Branch of the Oakland Public Library on Aug. 29, 1927, according to library spokeswoman Kathleen Hirooka.
Jim Pavan discovered the book when he went through some old boxes belonging to his mother, according to Hirooka. Pavan believed that his aunt originally checked out the book before lending it to Pavan’s mother to read.
The overdue fines in 1927 were 2 cents per day but would have topped off at $5, Hirooka said. Adjusted for inflation, the fine today would be $52.31.
The book is not the longest-overdue returned book in Oakland’s history. That record goes to a copy of “Ghetto Comedies” by Israel Zangwill, which was returned in 1995, 88 years after it was due. A local contractor discovered the book in a house where he was working, Hirooka reported.
An official of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) set a good example by returning close to S$1,000 or about P55,000 to a travel agency owner, who left it at the immigration arrival counter at the Davao International Airport on Tuesday afternoon.
But Benjamin Lao, BI regional alien control officer, yesterday said the BI official wants to remain anonymous.
The unidentified BI official, Lao said, discovered an envelop at his counter around 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
He said the BI official took the envelope home because it has no markings outside.
When he opened it on Tuesday evening, he found a form of the Philam Insurance Company and S$923 in cash, Lao said.
He said the BI official found the name Dolores Marquez in the insurance form and a telephone number.
But because it was past office hours, he decided to return the envelope and the money the next day.
Lao said the official phoned Marquez, who turned out to be the owner of the New World Travel agency, around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
“He even had an argument with one of Marquez’s staffer because he won’t give his identity,” Lao said.
Lao said when the BI official told the staffer he found Marquez’s money, he was given a direct line to the travel agency owner.
Lao said Marquez was thankful her money was returned.
Based on Marquez’s account, she enplaned from Singapore via Silk Air on Tuesday and forgot her envelop when she submitted her immigration form.
Thursday, Mar. 17, 2005
Some real treasures can be found at secondhand stores, but when workers in a River Falls, Wis. opened a donated purse, they found an unexpected treasure.
“A lot of times we’ll find a dollar or two or three dollars,” said one worker at Treasures From the Heart.
Inside one purse was a lot more than the average couple of bucks.
“She said, oh, look there’s money in this envelope and she pulled out a bunch of money,” said Carol Haughton with Treasures From the Heart. “She kept pulling out envelopes, oh here’s more! Here’s more!”
As the volunteer searched the purse, she pulled out envelope after envelope, stuffed full of cash, mostly $10 and $20 bills.
In all, there was $4,800 in cash in the purse. The money would have made a nice donation for a good cause, but that’s not the way things are done at that small-town store.
“We take integrity and ethics very seriously,” said Kathy Helgeson with Treasures From the Heart.
The employees decided to find the man who donated the purse with only one clue: The woman’s name on an envelope.
They searched and searched and finally got a break.
“It was the husband of a niece in Texas and they gave them the number of an uncle here in Hudson (Wis.),” said Helgeson.
The employees found the stranger who was surprised to find his mother had tucked away the cash. The man donated the purse and other items after his mother died.
The envelopes had the names of her grandchildren on them, a final gift from her to the children.
“It was satisfying to see that money returned to him, because it wasn’t ours,” said Helgeson. “It never was ours.”
The store wanted to protect the man’s identity, but did say he gave the store a small donation to show his appreciation.
All the money raised at Treasures From the Heart goes to Heartland Home Care Network’s hospice and home health programs.
Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2005
The Blood Bank of Delmarva has its missing laptop back.
The computer was returned last night.
Officials say it was untouched and the confidential records on it were not accessed.
The computer fell off a truck last Thursday near Ogletown.
The unidentified man who brought it in will be given a five-thousand dollar reward.
Blood bank spokesman, Dave Bonk, says the man found the laptop the day it fell from the truck. The blood bank insignia had fallen off the computer, so the man didn’t know who owned it until he heard a report about the missing laptop yesterday.
A news release identifies the man who found the laptop as Ed Wenger of New Castle.
Thursday, Feb. 3, 2005
As annual visitors to South Florida from Connecticut, we experienced an episode of integrity and kindness that deserves to be publicized.
On Jan. 13, we accidentally left a packet of $300 cash, notes and a credit card at the Mobil On the Run Store, No. 11193, at Woolbright Road and Congress Avenue in Boynton Beach.
The next day, the manager, Cathy McFadden, returned the packet to us intact.
The evening clerk, Jackenson Petit Homme, had set the packet aside the evening before for our retrieval.
A monetary reward was enthusiastically offered, but refused.
Kudos to South Florida, but especially to the staff of Mobil’s On the Run Store in Boynton Beach. With faith restored, we will be back next year.