* This is a work of non-fiction based on actual events that I have experienced first hand; used with permission.
My boyfriend and I spent the day at an amusement park. As we were climbing a flight of stairs to board a ride, a leather wallet fell out of a man’s pocket a few feet ahead of us.
I reached out for the man’s attention just as my boyfriend reached for the dropped wallet. Let’s say there are several good reasons why he’s not my boyfriend anymore, and what happened next is one of them.
He simultaneously grabbed the wallet and pushed my hand away so I couldn’t pat the rightful owner of the wallet on his back. When I turned to him in confusion, he grimaced angrily and silenced me while stuffing the wallet into his own front pocket.
I thought about getting the man’s attention anyway, but my boyfriend had made it clear to me by his actions and threatening facial expressions that he wanted me to shut up. Not wanting to suffer the consequences of disobeying him, I lowered my hand and continued walking.
I made a mental note of how the wallet owner looked because I always thought I could get my boyfriend to do the right thing and give it back to him. I was wrong.
Once out of earshot of the man, I broached the question of the wallet. “Finders Keepers don’t apply here,” I said. “You basically stole this man’s wallet.”
“I didn’t steal it,” replied my boyfriend. “I found it.”
“You saw it fall out of his pocket like me,” I said. “How can you refuse to return his wallet to this man?
It didn’t matter what I said; he would not return the wallet. I offered to find the man myself or take the wallet to the lost and found department at the amusement park, but to no avail.
When we put enough distance between the wallet and its owner, my boyfriend slipped it out of his pocket and looked inside to see how much money he had found. The wallet was empty. It was completely empty.
The wallet contained nothing, not a scrap of paper or an expired driver’s license. It did not contain a credit card, debit card or dollar bill. The wallet was just an old wallet, as empty as my boyfriend’s conscience.
I watched him throw 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 lost his wallet, and hoped it had no personal meaning to him now that it was in the bottom of an amusement park trash can, I was glad it was empty. It was the second best case scenario, after returning the wallet to the man who had dropped it.
What would you have done in my situation? Comments are open.