We can all relate to that moment when we realize that we’ve lost something valuable. We pat our pockets, search through our bags and luggage. If you lost your phone, you would probably panic because it was so expensive and it had all your contacts. But losing a wallet is probably ten times worse…
Our wallets are seemingly endless inventory slots for things like pay stubs, driver’s license, credit cards, and more. But this can cause two major headaches. On one hand, you’re vulnerable to identity theft. On the other, you’re going to have to call and cancel each credit card and ask for a replacement. This is not only costly, but also time consuming. One man ought to know what a nightmare this is as he experienced it recently.
Hunter was on a flight to Las Vegas with his mom. They were heading to his sister’s wedding. But his wallet slipped out of his pocket and fell between the seats. It’s why he didn’t notice it when he stood up to leave the plane. Once he realized his wallet was missing, he reached out to Frontier Airlines. He hoped that someone had found it and handed it in. But no one did.
When you get up to leave the plane, it’s important to make sure you have everything, not just your carry-on luggage. Patting your pockets and checking to see that you have your wallet can spare you from the ordeal Hunter had to go through.
Hunter no longer had his debit card, a signed paycheck for the amount of $400, the $60 in cash, or his ID. This was a learning experience for him, but everyone can sympathize with his predicament. After all, he’d just lost a lot of money, and the convenience of making any purchase he wanted. But then, life threw him another curb ball.
Hunter was able to put aside the anxiety caused by the loss of his wallet so that he could enjoy the wedding. His sister looked beautiful walking down the aisle all dressed in white with a white bouquet in her hands. Hunter wasn’t preoccupied with money at this point, but his mother certainly was.
“It being Vegas and all, I figured it was gone forever,” explained Hunter. After the weekend wedding, he and his parents went to the airport to head back to Omaha on November 11. Once they arrived, they would have to drive home to Brandon, South Dakota, for three hours. But his mom worried the airline wouldn’t let him board the flight without his ID.
In this day and age, identity theft has become a growing concern for many people. Sure, you can always get a new ID, and new credit cards. But by the time you get these things back, a lot of damage can be done by thieves.
People don’t always realize their wallet is missing, and when they do, they’ll report their credit cards stolen. But in some cases, a thief might have already used the credit card to go on a shopping spree in their name. They might even clean out their bank account.
“We were very anxious,” shared Jeannie Shamatt. “I was worried. I was anxious. He was anxious.” Hunter was interviewed for about an hour before he was allowed to get on the flight. This brought everyone some sort of comfort since they knew things could have been worse. The airline could have denied him access to the flight.
After 9/11, the TSA is certainly not taking any chances. So, they’ll do everything in their power to ensure the well-being of passengers, even if that means keeping someone from boarding. Hunter could have easily been stranded, but the airline likely realized that this could have happened to anyone.
A day later, Hunter accepted that his wallet was gone forever. So, he requested replacements for all his credit cards. He also came to terms with the fact that the money he worked for was lost. But then, something incredible happened that not only restored his faith in humanity, but also the faith of an entire community.
Hunter received a packaged addressed to him in the mail. He hadn’t ordered anything, but was looking forward to this unexpected gift as he tore the box open. Then, a leather-bound Tommy Hilfiger wallet dropped out of the box. It was the wallet he had lost a week earlier, and there was a handwritten note inside. It was addressed to him, and it read…
“Hunter, found this on the Frontier flight from Omaha to Denver – row 12 seat F, wedged between the seat and the wall. Thought you might want it back.” He was in tears as he called his mom over to see what had arrived in the mail. Both of them were elated. But this story was far from over and soon, it would take an unbelievable twist.
As he took a look inside the wallet, he realized that everything was there. But much to his surprise, there was an extra $40 and a letter that said: “P.S. I rounded your cash up to an even $100 so you could celebrate getting your wallet back. Have Fun!!!” The note was signed, T.B.
Tommy’s mother went on social media and shared the story about the stranger who had returned her son’s wallet. She also urged folks to help them find the individual with the big heart, so they could meet him in person and thank him. She explained: “Tonight Hunter received a package in the mail with his wallet and a letter signed with only initials. On the envelope a return address out of Omaha from Applied Underwriters. We would love to thank the individual personally if we could find him or her. Please help share this post so we can find this amazing person.”
By Monday night, the post had over 1,000 views. “I am so overwhelmed with all the positive responses. We can not thank this person enough, he/she has made our faith in people very strong!” Jeannie Shamatt explained. The story had gone viral, but they hadn’t gotten to the best part yet.
Jeannie eventually updated her Facebook post and wrote: “Here is an update, my story made news in Omaha, while this was happening. I was able to connect with the persons that returned Hunter’s wallet. I try to teach my children to do the right things in life, help people when you can regardless of the outcome. This story is more about restoring faith in people than anything.”
As the story continued to grow on social media, a co-worker of the mystery Samaritan heard about what happened with the wallet found on a flight and recognized the handwriting on the note. Eventually, he realized that the kind-hearted soul who used the initials T.B. was actually a father-of-five named Todd Brown, who obviously decided to “have a little fun” and help a stranger out in the process.
“I saw he was just a kid, 20 years old, he had a paycheck in there, so I figured, ‘Well, he’s doing his best to make ends meet,’ but I was 20 once, and that’s a lot of money for a kid,” Brown explained after a couple of news agencies reached out to him.
Jeannie then added: “Everything in the wallet we could have replaced. We hear a lot of bad news but not enough good news. I personally want to thank Todd Brown and his wife for restoring faith that there are amazing people out there, the world is not as grim as it’s being made out to be.” Todd and his wife were overwhelmed by the thanks given by Hunter and his family.
There’s a reason why Brown didn’t give out his full name on the letter. He likes doing good deeds, but never expects recognition for them. But still, Hunter praised the Nebraska native through social media. “It really meant a lot that he would go out of his way and do that for a complete stranger,” he explained and then added…
“I’m still paying off school loans and I got truck loans to pay off so it really helps out … I think that it goes to show that there’s more good out there than there is evil because this was just a random guy on the street. Shows that there are still good people out there.” At this point, both families were bawling.
Things could have turned out completely different for Hunter. What if Brown hadn’t picked up the wallet? What if it had been someone else? What would have happened then? Would the wallet have been returned to Hunter? Maybe, maybe not.
Hunter will undoubtedly keep his wallet close next time he goes traveling. This is a lesson that his entire family, the Browns, and those on social media have learned. But the story has also proven that being kind has a way of bringing happiness and uniting people. Using the man’s initials and a return address, Hunter’s family was able to find the anonymous Samaritan and thank him properly. But what would you have done in Brown’s place?