Wandering through Temple Square in Salt Lake City, I helped myself to a few brochures about Mormons and their church. I stick them in my hip pocket, a decision I will have cause to regret.
Some hours later, we stop for lunch. When we're done, I yank the brochures out of my pocket and carry them in my hand. Walk out of the building, say goodbye to my lunchtime companions and start walking uphill to where my car is parked. Then it strikes me, and I frantically pat my hip pockets, and then all the others. My wallet is gone. I distinctly remember pulling those brochures out of my pocket, and that was the same pocket that had the wallet, so I imagine it must have fallen out somewhere near the restaurant.
I race back there, looking around me all the way in case it's on the ground or the floor of the building. Nothing. Nothing at the restaurant either, despite managing to enlist three of the waiters and waitresses into searching for it. I ask somebody sitting at a desk, then somebody on the ground floor, then somebody in an office. Nothing. Despondent now, I leave my name and number, but without much hope.
I retrace some more steps, asking at every place I visited before lunch. Nothing. Much sympathy, but nothing.
Thoroughly despondent, I return to the friend's place where I'm staying. Figure out how to cancel two credit cards that were in the wallet, and make the calls to do so. But the really major loss is hardly those. It's my drivers' licence. How am I going to drive the 3000+ miles that still lie ahead? I call the sis in California for a shoulder to cry on.
When I hang up, the phone rings. It's security from Temple Square. "We have your wallet," says a gruff voice. "Someone turned it in."
I'm so relieved I could weep. (Again). I tell him I'll be right over to pick it up, and call the sis back for a shoulder to exult on.
She tells me that, coincidentally, they have a guest visiting who used to live in Salt Lake City. Told her about my wallet misery, and this guest exclaimed: "Tell him not to do anything! Salt Lake City is the most honest place in the world! I lost two wallets there and got them both back. I'm sure he'll get his back too."
The guest was right, of course. Advice that came too late to stop me cancelling those credit cards, but that's a tiny inconvenience I'll gladly live with.
Back at Temple Square, the security man hands me the wallet, saying one of the Mormon Sisters had found it "near a fountain". I can't imagine which fountain, but never mind. He asks me to check that everything's in there. Sure it is.
But I knew that already, from sis's guest in California.