10
Jan
10

2010 in like a lion

2010 came in like a lion…we hope it goes out like a lamb.

Full of hopeful anticipation, my partner, Big Dawg and I drove to a popular little 70’s, retro,  coffee shop/diner about 15 miles west of the city to meet with the pastor of the”open and welcoming,” Mennonite church we have been attending for the past seven months. Our mission was to share our stories and discuss membership.

We were packed in table to table, with barely room to lean back in our chairs…but that goes along with retro 70’s, flower-power and all of that fun nostalgia, I am told. At the table immediately behind us…and I do mean behind us…were three persons: a young man sitting alone on the side nearest us (directly behind BD) and two women (or one woman and one man…I don’t remember which) on the side opposite. Sometime in the midst of our private conversation—in the midst of a universe of private conversations—the three people got up and left. It was after we’d closed with a  prayer of thanksgiving, that BD noticed her wallet was missing from her bag. She was sure she must have left it at home and we quickly went home to reassure ourselves.

We arrived home and began a serious and repeated search effort: no wallet. None had been turned in at the diner. Eventually we ran out of places to look. Remembering that she did have her bag on the corner of her chair, and there was someone seated directly behind her, our brains began to clear. Slowly the pieces of recent memory accumulated and we realized that the wallet had been stolen, plain and simple.  Having lost my own wallet a month or more ago,  this was déjà vu. In that first experience the wallet was found, emptied of cash but found with everything else intact…happy ending—round one.

Adopted Daughter, being a banker herself, knew exactly what to do the first time around and went to work immediately one more time, as though it had been a dress rehearsal for the current, actual theft. The first thing she did was to box the thieves in electronically to minimize damage. Remembering what was in the wallet was challenging, there was a good amount of cash, but the most important items were the credit cards, insurance cards and driver’s license. The thieves, with their head-start had already used each card successfully with small purchases. Their attempt to obtain a large cash advance  from the issuing bank of one of the cards was refused, but only because the card was new and didn’t yet carry a high credit amount.  While the three brazen thieves were plying their trade, we contacted all the card companies as well as all three credit agencies and headed them off at the pass. Their last transaction was a cartload of items totaling over $600. When they got to the checkout, the card was not only rejected, but a warning sign flashed for the clerk to confiscate the card!

After our electronic vigilante work was done, we drove to the town where the incident took place to file a police report. While waiting for the officer to take our information, another woman came in to report a nearly identical experience happening that same morning, in the same town, in another tightly packed, little eatery. Unfortunately, her card carried a higher credit amount and she didn’t have the advantage of living with a banker who knows what to do on the double. During the prior week a woman reported her wallet stolen in a similar scenario. It began to look to us like stealing and dealing are alive and well and diners beware.

The following week was one of cleaning-up and counting our blessings. No one died. No one got mugged. Everyone lives to tell the tale (thieves not withstanding) and life goes on. We are working on ways to avoid carrying important items in purses and bags—not an easy thing to do for women. The people who make our clothes don’t think we need pockets. When they do give us a pocket or two, they’re small and more or less decorative—useless for anything but Kleenex.

The moral of the story? I’m working on that.

Happy 2010.

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