Friday, January 29, 2010

Lost and Found

Have you ever been out and about in public and lost something important or valuable? If so, was it returned?

I was sixteen and a newly licensed driver when I left my purse in the crack of a movie theater chair. I went back as soon as I realized what had happened, but it wasn’t to be seen again. Gone was some hard-earned cash, my brand new license, my social security card, sentimental pictures… It was heart breaking.

My husband has been wearing a chain since he was nine or ten, a gift from his parents when he became an altar boy. A few years ago, after taking the kids to Chuck E. Cheese (don’t get me started on this special form of parental torture), he realized it wasn’t hanging around his neck. Panic. We called and thankfully someone had found it and turned it in. A miracle (and no, it wasn’t a medal of St. Anthony—how appropriate would that have been?).

Well, last week son # 2 came home and searched the house frantically before announcing that he’d lost his scientific calculator. All of you with teenagers know that buying a scientific calculator often entails second mortgages and selling of internal organs. Okay, not really. But it’s close. Son # 2 had inherited that particular calculator from son # 1, so it had been around the block a time or two, but still, it had been in perfect working order and in line to be passed down to younger sister. But alas, it disappeared and as son # 2 needed it for his math class and for the SATs, which were at that point three days away, we trekked to Office Depot, sold off a kidney, and brought home a new TI84.
(Let me just digress for a moment here and say that I have my suspicions that the missing calculator didn’t disappear on its own, if you get my drift. There are some kids at son # 2’s school with sticky fingers, as evidenced by his stolen cell phone and Ipod last year… I almost want to send him to school dragging a safe…)

Fast forward to SAT day when son # 2 and I are on our way home from a neighboring high school, the SAT test site. He was relating spending five hours of testing with a heavy breather sitting next to him, poor kid (the breather who was obviously ill), and the other kids, too, who had to concentrate with that going on, when I asked, innocently, how his new calculator had worked.

You know where this is going, right?

Yep. He left the brand new, hadn’t even been paid for yet (thank you, credit cards), calculator at the SAT test site, under his desk chair. We immediately turned around, drove back to the school (which was 20 minutes away) but it was already locked up tight—trust me, we tried every door.

So while he fretted over the fact that he might actually have to sell a kidney, I was wondering if kids at this particular school had a tendency for sticky fingers as well…and feared we would never see that calculator again and why, oh why, hadn’t I bought the outrageously priced protection plan because even though it was outrageous, it was still cheaper than a replacement?

By the time I got home, I had a plan. I was going straight to the top. I emailed the SAT school’s principal (gotta love the internet) and begged for help. Sunday night I received an email that she’d check first thing in the morning, and also see if one of the SAT coordinators might have found the wayward calculator already. Monday morning, the phone rang. They had the calculator. Safe and sound. Nary a sticky finger to be seen.

It was such a whew moment. And also one that restored my faith in mankind’s goodness. And after the cell phone/Ipod incident, it was also good for son #2 to see that yes, sometimes people do the right thing. But, ahem, he did get a wee little lecture on keeping better track of his possessions, because now that he’s a newly licensed driver, I really don’t want him leaving his wallet in the crack of a chair at the local movie theater…

Any lost and found stories out there? I’d love to hear more stories about the goodness of mankind. Or, okay, I’ll take Chuck E. Cheese commiserations as well…

~Heather