Honest Man

Phyllis came home last Saturday afternoon with that sad, bewildered, anguished look on her face. Uh-oh, bad news. Car accident? Hit a squirrel?

“I lost my wallet at Lowes.” she said.

“What!” “Aw.” “Bummer.” Didn’t assuage. Not even hugs.

Tears. Frustration. Snot on my shoulder.

” It was just stupid,” she wailed.. “I paid for my plants, put the wallet in the cart and just left it there. I realized right away, went back, but it was gone.”

Now, we carry lots of things around in our wallets, but Phyllis’s looks like George Costanza’s from Seinfeld. I swear, one more slip of paper and it explodes.

“All my things! I’ll have to call the bank, credit card companies, DMV. They can keep the money,” she cried.

Sympathetic and sensitive, as always, I was plumb out of solace. “You better hope an honest person finds it,” I offered. At that point she was hopeless.

An honest person did find it, but he didn’t return it.

Oh?

I was lounging on the coach ducking TV commercials when the phone rang in the other room earlier that afternoon. Phyllis wasn’t home yet from her shopping excursion. The voice said it was Marc Molinaro and he wanted to talk to Phyllis McCabe. The Dutchess County executive calling my wife? I figured it was some kind of photo assignment from the Kingston Times and switched channels. Molinaro called back a half hour later, leaving his number. I didn’t budge.

Phyllis came home and checked her messages.

“You’re not going to believe this!” she said. “I found the honest man. He found my wallet! It was Marc Molinaro.”

Molinaro later explained that he had pulled into Phyllis’s parking space, apparently just after she left, and the wallet was sitting there in the cart.

“I didn’t turn it in,” he told us the next day in his front yard in Red Hook, wife Lorinne and newborn son Theo on the front porch.  “I figured it would be better to take it home and call.” And of course, he would accept no reward. Come to think of it, in all the excitement, we forgot to offer.

Nor, I suspect, would he have accepted. Honest folks are like that.

,