A burrito, a lost wallet and a Good Samaritan

Editor’s note: This column is not an advertisement for Chipotle. But heck, if you’re hungry after reading it, go get yourself a big ol’ burrito.

Derrick Knutson

Derrick Knutson

About two weeks ago, after participating in a hunger-inducing volleyball tournament in the south metro, I stopped at a Chipotle restaurant in Blaine to pick up one of my favorite foods: a burrito the size of a newborn polar bear.

Anyone who frequents this restaurant knows of its fantastic burritos, which probably pack enough calories to keep a good-sized horse satisfied for at least a day.

After paying for the hefty meal, I excitedly scampered to my car with it in a takeout bag and set off for home, thinking of how good it would taste when I finally sunk my teeth into the tortilla-wrapped concoction of rice, spiced chicken, salsa, cheese, sour cream and guacamole.

I got about 2 miles from the restaurant when I realized something was amiss: My wallet was not in my pocket.

I pulled over on a side street off Highway 65 and began frantically searching my pants pockets, jacket pockets and crevices of my car. I came to the assertion that the wallet must have fallen out of my pocket in the restaurant or in Chipotle’s parking lot.

I then began to panic. I assumed the wallet would not be at the store or in the parking lot, and I would have to get a hold of my bank and cancel my credit cards and check card.

I had thoughts of some uncouth charlatan — I’ve always wanted to use “charlatan” in a news story or column — going on a spending spree with my plastic, buying such extravagant items as a Ginsu knife set from the nearby Gander Mountain or cleaning out an area grocery store of its supply of Teddy Grams.

When I got back to Chipotle, my initial concern of my wallet being nowhere in sight was confirmed. I looked under a dozen or so cars in the parking lot, to no avail.

I then went back inside the restaurant and asked an employee if someone had turned in a wallet in the past 20 minutes or so.

She said nobody had, and I left my name and phone number with her in case it turned up.

Discouraged, I walked back into the parking lot for one last look, and I heard someone say, “Derrick?”

I turned to see a woman holding my wallet, and I thanked her profusely. She had found it lying on the ground outside the store and waited in her car for a while to see if I might come back to the store in search of it. It had apparently fallen out of my pocket and I hadn’t noticed.

She apologized for the cards in my wallet being out of order; the woman explained she was going through it to see if there was some contact information for me in it, and she found one of my work business cards and left a voice mail on my office phone saying that she had my wallet and wanted to return it.

I offered her some cash for her good deed, but she told me to keep my money.

There are quite a few bad people out there who would have just taken my wallet, spent the cash and racked up a bunch of charges on my cards, but this woman was not of that ilk.

She said, “Bless you” to me, and I returned her blessing in kind.

Her kindness made me feel great. My teammate and I hadn’t played great in the tournament that day, but I wasn’t even thinking about that after getting my wallet back. I was thinking about how there are kind, compassionate people in this world who wouldn’t do an underhanded thing, even if they were given an easy chance.

The thought of that made me happy, and I know if I find someone’s wallet in a parking lot one day, I’ll go to at least as much trouble as this woman did to track down its owner.

I’d turn down a monetary reward for returning it, too, but I might accept a burrito as big around as my torso, if one were to be offered.

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