If you’re lucky, found really does follow lost

Vest lost in Niagara Falls, Ontario, shipped back to Syracuse, N.Y.

Back where it belongs, in Syracuse, N.Y., the prodigal vest.

The universe talked directly to me this week.

I was open to its lesson. Let’s call it “They Were Lost and Now They’re Found.”

It starts with a vest finding its way back to Syracuse from Canada and ends with a blanket making the journey from Syracuse back to Georgia.

Sit back and enjoy.

We shall begin with the vest.

It didn’t take long after my dear wife Karen and I returned home to Syracuse from our anniversary getaway to Niagara Falls that I discovered I’d left something behind on the Canadian side.

I couldn’t find my comfortable black, zippered, space-aged material vest.

Karen gave it to me for my birthday a couple of years ago. It started out as a golf vest, picked out and purchased at the local Golf Galaxy.

It turned into a go-to article of outerwear.

I loved the deep pockets. They easily fit the bulky carrying case for my sunglasses on one side and the slimmer carrying case for my reading glasses in the other. As a bonus, I could wedge my meatloaf-sized wallet into the same pocket as the reading glasses and trust that it wouldn’t fall out.

It looked cool, I thought.

It kept me warm, I knew.

I wore my beloved vest one day in Saint John, New Brunswick, perfect for a walking tour from our cruise ship with the temperature creeping toward 60 degrees. The chamber ambassadors were handing out Saint John lapel buttons that day. I stuck mine on the vest, proudly.

I threw it into the car for this late October trip to Niagara Falls, figuring that I could wear it under my Columbia windbreaker for our planned walk.

Somehow it got left in Canada. The best I could figure, I left it in the closet or draped over a chair in the Doubletree by Hilton on Fallsview Boulevard.

I called and asked for the front desk.

Upon hearing my plight, the kind woman took my name and number and promised that the worker who supervised the hotel’s lost and found department would call when she reported for work.

She did.

She had my vest. The description of that Saint John pin cemented my identification.

My vest would be sent upstairs to UPS, she said. They’d call me for more information, she declared.

I made sure my hockey-puck sized wallet was near the phone. That information was sure to include my credit card number, I figured.

The UPS man called. He checked my address. Would I prefer the vest placed in a box, or would a plastic shipping bag suffice?

The bag will do, I told him. He asked for my credit card information.

And how much will that be?

I held my breath. I knew I had lost my beloved vest in another country.

More than $30.

Less than it would cost to buy a new one. And my souvenir from Saint John was still attached.


Blanket lost  in Syracuse gets shipped back to Georgia.

Kim’s beloved blanket, just prior to shipping back home to Georgia.

The very next day, I received an email from a new WordPress blogging friend.

Kim Hood, author of the “Quiet Desperation” blog, had read enough of my posts to know that I live in Syracuse. In fact, she had commented on the piece I posted about our first measurable snow that her husband was up north in the Salt City, working a roofing job.

When he returned home to Georgia, he’d left her beloved blanket behind in his hotel room.

Kim sent me a direct email, explaining how the blanket had belonged to her mother and how special it was. In fact, it meant so much to her, she always packed it in her husband’s belongings when he went away for work, a little piece of her to keep him company.

If they had it, she asked, would I be willing to help get it back to her in Georgia?

I would have said yes in any case.

But the enormity of the coincidence left me practically speechless.

The hotel people found the blanket. Kim told them I would be coming to pick it up.

I sent it to Georgia by U.S. post.

First I took its picture. I imagined how warm it had kept her husband on his work trip to Syracuse, of body and of mind. I handled that blanket with extra care as I placed it into the shipping box.

I hope it will give them both comfort plenty of times in their future.

Priceless. Again. Great week.

27 thoughts on “If you’re lucky, found really does follow lost

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  3. I don’t suppose you could find my well-loved purple scarf that I lost at a Mandy Patinkin concert at the Landmark Theater around 1998? I still mourn its loss.


  4. Awesome post about our beloved belongings and the fate of virtual strangers, now friends. I love you in the vest, and am glad you got it back. I am watching the mail carefully waiting on the blanket. This is all just way beyond cool. You truly understood what I was going through, and I am forever grateful. It’s good to know there are folks like you out there. 🙂


  5. It’s said–for the religious folk out there–if you pray to St. Anthony, you’ll find your lost item. I ask Mark Bialczak for help.

    In all seriousness: this is another great post! Not too many people would do such a simple, nice gesture. It’s amazing how the good intentions send out even more good vibes. I paid for a woman’s parking the other day, via Visa, because she asked for change and I didn’t have any. It’s amazing how something so simple is such a big deal.


    • Yes, Jim, the email from Georgia one day following the Niagara Falls rescue bowled me over. And, I know I travel too heavy because I can’t carry my wallet in my pants pocket. Sitting would be impossible.


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