Hangzhou, like most major cities, is not presumably a good place to lose your wallet but on June 18, my 31st birthday, I experienced the heart dropping panic of losing what is arguably one of my most important possessions. With a slight dizziness from the beer and festivities, the humidity of the city and the glow of the car, I frantically checked and rechecked my pockets and the inside of the backseat while my girlfriend called the restaurant we were at. To no avail, I sighed and went home considering my wallet lost.
Over the next week I cancelled my cards, groveled to my boss for a new teacher I.D., and spent more time at ICBC getting a new debit card than I’d like to admit. While the cards are certainly replaceable, the wallet was a gift from my girlfriend and the guilt over losing it stung.
Fast forward six weeks and my phone is ringing, I look at the screen and it’s my dentist. I thought why would my dentist be calling me, I just had a checkup? I pick up the phone and my dentist reports that the Uber driver had found the wallet underneath the passenger seat and seeing the business cards inside called my dentist trying to get ahold of me, the driver didn’t just contact the dentist, I received several more calls from business people I know reporting that an Uber driver had found my wallet. My girlfriend gave the driver a call from the number the dentist provided and either being too busy or too humble, the driver dropped my wallet off at the Hangzhou Dianzi campus security.
I learned two important lessons from this experience. First, Hangzhou is a great place for a carless “laowai” like myself, thanks to its compassionate and caring drivers who will go above and beyond to return a lost wallet. The second, business cards don’t just take up space in my wallet after all.