VICTORIA GOOD SAMARITAN REUNITES WALLET WITH VISITING VET
It took a Good Samaritan and some amateur sleuthing to reunite American tourist Zachary Whaley with his lost wallet.
“When I discovered I had lost my billfold, adrenalin energized me to practically run back along Government Street, but I found no trace of it,” said the 85-year-old Whaley, who was in Victoria for a family reunion.
“After cancelling my credit cards, I filed a police report and began planning how to pay for the rest of our stay in Victoria and return home.”
While Whaley was fretting, a Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut customer, whose identity is not known, discovered the wallet in front of the Boughton St. store and turned it in to Chocolaterie employee Carey Boyd.
She put calls in to the two cruise ships docked in town to see if it belonged to one of their passengers.
It didn’t, so manager Brad Potentier locked the wallet in the store safe for the night “and in the morning I did my detective work on it,” he said.
Through Whaley’s Facebook page, Potentier discovered Whaley’s son John worked at Phoenix University, an online college.
He called the university’s general information line and was met with some skepticism.
“Very much so,” he said. “I’m calling a 1-800 number, pleading my case, ‘Can you put me through to this guy?’
“In the end, I guess I did a good job.”
The son called his father, who came down to the store an hour later to retrieve the wallet, which contained Whaley’s veteran’s, medicare and credit cards and his driver’s licence.
“And there was a substantial amount of money in a secret compartment,” Potentier said.
In all, it took Potentier about an hour and 20 minutes to track down Whaley.
“Zach is full of vigour and vitality. On my personal authenticity scale, he was ticking all through all the boxes,” Potentier said. “He bought some chocolates, we had a great haha about it. He’s such an entirely charismatic guy.”
Whaley said he prayed the wallet had been picked up by a homeless person, whom he hoped would use the cash to buy a warm jacket for the coming winter.
There was $US111 inside, plus a $US250 cash card.
“Brad went to great lengths to find me,” Whaley said from Sun Lakes, Arizona, where he and his wife Marcie live in a retirement centre south of Phoenix. “Brad and the man who found my billfold are worthy of honour for their honest and effort to help a visitor to Victoria.”
There was no cash reward offered, but Whaley did buy chocolates.
“My reward is the wallet getting back into the hands of its rightful owner,” Potentier said.
Whaley, meanwhile, said he’d already written off the $111 in cash, so a mission for children in Africa is a little richer.
“The cash was lost to me already,” he said, “so I donated it to charity.”
Zach Whaley holds up the billfold he thought he’d lost for good in Victoria last Friday, but a Victoria store manager persevered in sleuthing and tracked the 85-year-old down.