Yesterday, I lost my wallet. I didn’t notice until a few hours after my last class of the day ended, but as soon as I realized I didn’t have it I began retracing my steps. I searched the dining halls, the classrooms I was in, and my residence hall, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. But what surprised me was how genuinely helpful everyone I came across was. Both dining hall managers and two professors in the classrooms I went to could not have been nicer.
The dining hall managers told me that no wallets had been turned in but that they would email me if any surfaced. The professors both explained that nothing had been brought to their desk but that if custodians found it on the ground while cleaning, their standard procedure is to bring it to the UMass Police Department the next morning. I was told to fill out a missing property report on the UMPD website or call the next morning.
I began to settle into the mindset that it was likely stolen but hoped that there was a slight chance it would end up at the police station the next morning. As I was beginning to file a lost property report, which was very easy to do, I got an email from a professor that I’ve never had before.
He explained that he taught in the room my first class of the day was held after I had it, and that someone brought it to the front and left it on the instructor’s desk. He decided it’d be safest if he took it with him. He looked me up through the UMass "People Finder" search engine on the UMass home page and contacted me when he was able to be certain that it was my wallet. He set up a time that I could pick it up today, and just that easily I retrieved my wallet.
All the cash, cards, my license, and, most importantly, my Dunkin’ gift card were all still in my wallet, completely untouched.
I sat on the end of a row by the aisle where my wallet slipped out of my pocket. At least two total strangers came across my wallet and even had it in their hands. In a large lecture hall, I’d guess even more noticed it. But no one took anything from it. Instead they went out of their way to make sure that it got back to me.
I learned two things about my campus today: First, there’s a surprisingly easy procedure for finding lost items at such a large campus. The UMass Police Department is very easy to work with no matter how important or small the issue. Secondly, the genuine goodness of people at UMass is something I really appreciate. A lot of universities claim that their students and professors would do the same. And maybe that's true. But now I have a real example that proves that’s the case here.