Last night, we stopped at a 24-hour Walgreen's in North Oakland after a late and atypical Saturday evening out. We parked, got out, and started to walk into the store. Kate said, "A wallet." And there, lying right out in the open in the parking lot, was a woman's wallet. I had walked right past without seeing it. Opening it, we found a couple IDs, some random gift cards, and a pretty good wad of cash.
We talked over what to do. Give it to the cashier at Walgreen's? No--we didn't think so. Bring it home and try to find the person named in the IDs? Yeah, we'd try that. When we looked her up, we readily found her on Facebook and left her a direct message with our home phone number. Then we noticed that she didn't appear to be very active on Facebook, though the page we could view did list a hometown elsewhere in California. We looked for other contact information close by--in online phone directories and at one of the universities closet by--but couldn't find any. Checking her hometown, I did find a listing for someone with the same rather unusual last name and figure it might be her family. But since it was 2 in the morning, I decided to wait until we got up today to see if the wallet owner contacted us; if she didn't, I'd call the out-of-town number.
So, morning dawned and some hours later we got up. No word, online or via telephone, from the owner. We took The Dog out for a walk, and when we came back in I called the number I had found. It felt a little weird doing it--here you are, a total stranger, calling with some strange tidings of a lost wallet. It also went through our minds that maybe the wallet was missing because of some kind of crime and maybe we just ought to turn it in to the police.
But the number did belong to the wallet woman's family, and after a couple calls, we set up a time to give it back to her. I guess the takeaway is--without the ability to at least get a start tracking someone down like this, I guess we would have resorted to the old pre-Net approach of posting a "Found" sign at the Walgreen's or maybe just have handed it over to the local constabulary.