Man refuses to give back wallet only to find that it's empty

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

My boyfriend and I spent the day at an amusement park. As we walked up a flight of stairs to board one ride, a leather wallet tumbled out of a man's pocket a few steps ahead of us.

I reached out to get the man's attention at the same moment that my boyfriend reached for the fallen wallet. Let's just say there are several good reasons he isn't my boyfriend anymore, and what happened next was one of them.

He simultaneously snatched up the wallet and swatted my hand away so I couldn't tap the rightful owner of the wallet on his back. When I turned to him in confusion, he made an angry face and shushed me while stuffing the wallet into his own front pocket.

I thought about getting the man's attention anyhow, but my boyfriend had made it perfectly clear via his actions and menacing facial expressions that he wanted me to keep quiet. Not wanting to suffer the consequences of disobeying him, I put my hand down and just kept walking.

I made a mental note of the wallet owner's appearance because I still thought I could get my boyfriend to do the right thing and return it to him. I was wrong.

Once we were out of the man's earshot, I addressed the issue of the wallet. "Finders keepers doesn't apply here," I said. "You basically stole the wallet from that man."

"I didn't steal it," my boyfriend replied. "I found it."

"You saw it fall out of his pocket just like I did," I said. "How can you refuse to give the man back his wallet?"

It didn't matter what I said; he would not return the wallet. I offered to find the man myself or bring the wallet to the lost and found department at the amusement park, but to no avail.

When we had put enough distance between the wallet and its owner, my boyfriend slipped it out of his pocket and looked inside to learn how much money he had found. The wallet was empty. It was completely empty.

The wallet didn't contain a single thing, not a scrap of paper, or an expired driver's license. It didn't contain a credit card, a debit card, or a dollar bill. The wallet was just an old wallet, as empty as my boyfriend's conscience.

I watched him toss it into the nearest trash can. He had a look of disgust on his face. I knew how he felt. I felt disgusted, too.

While I felt bad that the man had lost his wallet, and I hoped it didn't have any personal significance to him now that it was sitting at the bottom of an amusement park garbage can, I felt delighted that it was empty. It was the second-best-case scenario, after actually returning the wallet to the man who had dropped it.

What would you have done in my situation? Comments are open.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

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