Upham's Corner Online
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Lost Wallet Goes Home for Christmas

The story of how a lost wallet goes home for Christmas with its contents in tact.  A teenager loses a wallet with $160 inside while an Uphams Corner resident finds a wallet with $160 inside.  The "finder" looks for the wallet's owner to no avail until just before Christmas when she finds one more number to call.  What a wonderful Christmas for everyone!

"This is an absolutely amazing story!" exclaimed Maureen as I personally delivered his wallet to her, contents and all.  "When I learned that you were his grandmother, I was so excited!"  We shared our stories of the wallet - from Maureen, how it was lost, how they had looked everywhere to find it, the hardships because of the lost money and from me, how I had found the wallet and what I had done to locate the owner. 

Maureen knew from her friend Priscilla that I was going to be stopping by.  She had told Maureen:  "A woman from Monadnock St named Nancy who has a newspaper wants to give Tomo something."  Neither Maureen nor Priscilla knew what it was. 

So when she let me in ("Who is it?), I told her that I had something very special for Tomo.  Did she have any idea what it was?  I gave her a couple clues and it didn't take long.  "Is it his wallet?"  "Yes," I said.  "Oh, my God!"

Before taking out the wallet, I told her the story of how I had found it and then began the process of looking for the owner.  Maureen said:  "Tomo tried to imagine what could have happened.  He had it in his pocket, he said.  At Thanksgiving, we cleaned the house and looked everywhere for it."

"Maureen, this is so amazing.  Can you imagine!  I found the wallet just a couple steps away from Arion Street.  He must have lost it almost immediately after leaving your house."  So I told her the story in all its details because it was so much like a detective story.  The person I was looking for was somebody I knew who lived almost around the corner from me but I had to discover that myself.


Tomo's Wallet Goes on Vacation

Several months ago (I never wrote down the date), I was walking my dogs on Davern Ave.  We had just passed Arion Street when I saw something lying in the middle of the street.  It was a wallet and when I picked it up, I found it had $160 inside, highly unusual since most wallets and purses in the open are usually empty - no ID's, no money, nothing.  I hid it inside a zippered pocket and when I got home, I looked more carefully to see who the owner might be.

Tomo Singh was his name with a library card, an association ID and a couple T passes.  That was it.

"He must work around here," I thought or maybe he is a student and uses the library here.  If he was walking down Davern Ave, maybe he sleeps at the homeless shelter.

So I set about asking if anyone knew a "Tomo Singh."  I asked a ton of people, anyone I ran into.  The shelter said they knew a person whose last name was Singh but not a Tomo Singh.  A couple days later, I asked at Bird Street thinking maybe he was a member there.  "Anybody ever hear of a guy named Tomo Singh?" Answer: "Nope, nobody."

So I stopped in the library.  "I'm wondering if you could help me.  I'm looking for a person named Tomo Singh.  He has a Boston library card.  Would that help locate him?"  The answer was NO NO NO.  "Even if the police asked us, we could not give out any information, unless they had a warrant."

The Pilgrim Church had never heard of him.  By this time, a couple weeks had passed.  What about the police?  No, I thought, not with $160 in the wallet.  I will never find out if they located him.  I will never know if he got his money.  Besides, I'd like to give him his wallet back personally.

I secured the wallet in a drawer that I rarely open, hidden away where it wouldn't draw any attention.  And wouldn't ya know!  Out of sight, out of mind.  One day I opened the drawer and saw a wallet.  "What in the world is that?"  Of course, it didn't take long for the nagging thought to return:  You still haven't found Tomo Singh.

I looked on the Internet.  Although I couldn't find him on Facebook, I did see that he had a Google profile.  In order to talk with him through this mechanism, I, a stranger, would have to knock on his digital door and say "Please let me in."  But what if this person was a different "Tomo Singh" and not the real owner of the wallet.

Time passed and I would wake up in the middle of the night with the name Tomo Singh in my brain - a reminder to not forget.  When I stopped at Pilgrim Shelter, they had recommended that I put up signs of the sort people do when they are looking for a lost dog or cat.  "Wallet found.  Contact me for more information."  "I am looking for Tomo Singh.  Anybody know him?"

In speaking with a business owner on Dudley Street about the suggestion, we both laughed and laughed.  "Can you imagine how many people would contact you claiming to be "Tomo Singh'?"  One person asked: "When are you going to stop looking (and keep the money)?"  "NEVER!"  That wallet can sit hidden away in my drawer forever. If the owner never materializes, I'll donate the money to charity.


Christmas - Tomo's Wallet Goes Home

The sacred time called Christmas was drawing near and I still had Tomo's wallet.  I looked inside the wallet one more time.  Yep, the money is still here so are the IDs.  Then I saw the "Washington Heights Tenants' Association" card. "He worked there this summer," Maureen said.

Priscilla answered the phone.  I said: "Look. You don't know who I am. I'm looking for a guy named Tomo Singh. I have something important to give to him. I don't want to share with you what it is because it's a surprise. What I'd like to do is to be able to meet with him with somebody else present, a third party. I want to give him something and I know he's going to like it." 

I could hear the distance and reservation of her voice: "Yes,"  she said, "I know who he is. But he's not here."  We continued our introductory comments and I said: "I'm an honest person. I have a community newspaper. I've lived in Uphams Corner on Monadnock Street forever. I'll send you all my contact information."

Maureen Williams with Lost Wallet ReturnedShe seemed to soften a bit.  "I know Monadnock Street. His grandmother lives in Uphams Corner on a little side street" and I emailed her my contact information.  The next morning, a Friday, I saw the phone ring with the right caller ID information.  "Hello, hello. Is this Priscilla?" "Tomo's grandmother knows you."  I said: "What!  Oh, my God.  I know Maureen."

Maureen was so excited:  "When Priscilla called me, she said 'Someone named Nancy from a newspaper'  I immediately said: 'I know her.'"

"So did you suspect it might have anything to do with the wallet?"  "No never. I thought maybe it was because Tomo does so well in school. Maybe Uphams Corner wanted to give him an award certificate for doing so well.  I had no idea.  I told his mother. And she asked why are they looking for him? We knew it had to be something good because he's never gotten into trouble. This is a good lesson for him. He's a very nice honest young man." 

Maureen added: "The money in the wallet was his mother's money for rent. She had used her rent money to help Tomo buy something online and he was supposed to pay her back from his job. The loss of the $160 made it very difficult for her.  Tomo looked everywhere in the neighborhood.  He is going to be so happy."

"So count it, Maureen. Make sure the $160 is in there." 


"An Absolutely Amazing Story"

"This is an absolutely amazing story! There's so much more behind this story, not just the money. I'm going to tell everybody about this.  This is the grace of God working. Today I gave a sermon at church and I talked about God's grace at Christmas. So many times people misunderstand.  This is an amazing Christmas."   

"You realize, Maureen that the Lord wanted me to find that wallet and that this was the time for me to get it back to him – Christmas time." 

Before I left the house, I looked at the wallet, lying on the couch.  "Maureen, please put the wallet away.  It's been in safekeeping for a long time and we want to make sure Tomo gets it back. Merry Christmas and God bless."

Christmas blessings to all who helped get Tomo's wallet home - all the people who said "no" but who wished me success in finding him - and especially to Priscilla for her caring friendship with Maureen.



Comments

12/26/2013 (message left by phone)

Hi, Miss Nancy.  This is Tomo.  I was calling to thank you for returning my wallet and say that I am very appreciative of your efforts to return it.  I am grateful for the people like you in the world.  Have a nice day and a Happy New Year.

Tomo Singh


Posted: December 23, 2013     Nancy J Conrad


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