Wallet’s return shows good will still exists

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, January 16, 2007

During holiday times, people sing songs about peace on earth andgood will towards men. But today’s world makes those songs sometimeseem like distant fairy tales.

A recent series of events involving a lost wallet shows, though,that good will is still alive and well.

Bruce Blaise, vice-president of sales for a petroleum transportcompany out of Ohio, had traveled from his home in Columbus toLincoln County in late December. He thought he’d been just anotherunlucky traveler when he realized he’d lost his wallet whilevisiting his family in Brookhaven.

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“It wasn’t until the following morning that I discovered mymisfortune, and after a furious search at both my parents’ home andthe store, it became apparent that my wallet, photos, credit cards,and a substantial amount of cash had become someone else’s lateChristmas present,” said Blaise.

But lucky for Blaise, Jack Wactor, a software developer for theState Tax Commission, was also visiting family in the area. Wactorand his family live in Byram but had come to see his mother inBogue Chitto.

“We were carrying the kids to the movie, and my wife and myniece saw the wallet at the parking lot of the Cracker Barrel,”Wactor said. “Of course we wanted to get it back to the individualthat owned it.”

The Wactors realized there were credit cards and a substantialamount of cash, as well as personal effects in the wallet, butcouldn’t find any identification. But that didn’t deter Wactor inhis drive to do what was right.

“We couldn’t find his name at first, but he had his autoinsurance card and we called his insurance company,” said Wactor.”They left him a message on his answering machine.”

Understanding the importance of losing a wallet, Wactor tried toact quickly in returning it.

“I really was trying to get it back to him that night, because Iknew he’d be trying to cancel the credit cards,” Wactor said.

Blaise was overwhelmed when he and his wife called the answeringmachine at home and got the message.

“I was so excited that someone was decent enough and honestenough to do that,” he said. “It floored me that I walked in andsaw this guy and his family who were so excited that they’d foundthe guy who’d lost his wallet.”

Many people probably would have pondered at least keeping thecash, especially after being unable to easily locate an owner. ButWactor credits his Christian faith and his strong family for makinghim the man he is.

“My parents raised me to believe if it doesn’t belong to you,it’s not yours,” said Wactor. “It didn’t cross my mind for a minuteto keep it. I knew that if it happened to me, I’d want someone tobe honest with me as well.”

Wactor said the credit for the returned wallet not only belongsto me, but to his wife Mercedes and 10-year-old niece NikiHart.

Blaise said there wasn’t a better way to remind him what theholiday season is all about.

“I got a little teary-eyed. It was an awakening, and it was neatthat it happened over the holiday season,” he said. “Up until thatpoint, I just wasn’t in the spirit. In a strange way, it puteverything back in perspective.”

Wactor said Blaise’s thanks meant a lot to him, but that themutual respect and gratitude extended even beyond just the twomen.

“Mr. Blaise struck me as a really nice individual, and hisparents too, because they came by and thanked my mom at her house.I was really impressed with that,” he said.

And Blaise is quick to point out the contrast of the outcome ofthe situation in the light of society today.

“You watch the news and read the papers and it’s all negative,and you wonder why it can’t be like the old days where people dothe right thing?” he said. “And here’s an example of how sometimesit is.”