Sunday, December 18, 2005

Scrooges Are Us

Last winter an out-of-town client arrived for an appointment at our office in New York's Upper West Side. In the cab he found a woman's wallet. He turned it over to us after we promised that Sherlock Investigations would find the owner of the wallet.

Besides a Texas driver's license, the wallet contained a certain amount of money, including a $100 bill, plus an assortment of credit cards, and a company ID. This was plenty of information for us to find the owner of the wallet. After more than an hour of searching, we were unable to find the owner, or any relatives. However, we did find her phone number, and left a message for her to call us ASAP.

Just before we left the office that night, a frantic woman called. She was still in New York, and had called her number in Texas to check her messages. Until that point, she didn't even know that she had lost her wallet.

We gave her the address of the Sherlock Investigations office and said that we'd meet her in front of our building with her wallet. She arrived in about thirty minutes, eyed us suspiciously, took the wallet, and climbed back into the waiting cab, never to be heard from again.


Then, just a few days before Christmas, a friend handed me an envelope that she had found near our office with the name "Bob" hand-written on it. Since there were no other markings whatsover on the envelope, I opened it. Inside was a holiday card signed by a woman, and $50.

I went to doormen buildings within a block or so of our office to enquire whether a tenant had reported losing an envelope with a holiday gift. No one had reported losing such an envelope.

Then I entered the woman's name into several data bases that we employ for locating people. I got a lot of hits since the women's name was a common one. One of the women by the same name lived only two blocks from our office. The listing included her phone number. I went over to her building and spoke to the doorman. Indeed, she had reported losing the envelope, which contained a holiday gift for the building's superintendant. The doorman said that she was very upset about losing the envelope and had looked everywhere. I left the envelope with the doorman.

After I got back to the office I called the woman's number and left a message that I had found the envelope and left it with her doorman. Later the woman called me and asked me where I found the envelope. Then she said, "And you OPENED it?" as if I had done something wrong. I explained to her that that was the only way I could've found out who it belonged to since there are a lot of "Bobs" in the neighborhood. She hung up on me.

This proves two things. One, some New Yorkers are honest. Two, some people are suspicious and ungrateful.

Would we do the same thing again? Absolutely.

No comments: