A truly honest gentleman
It was late Saturday night, or late for us, anyway—10 p.m. Ginnie and I were returning home from a busy fall day of getting the stink blown off us. I pulled up to our mailbox to retrieve the mail. My phone rang. It was a 641 area code.
“Is this Curt Swarm?” came a male voice.
“Y-Yes,” I answered.
“Were you at the BP station in Batavia tonight?”
“Y-Yes. I got gas.”
“Well, I found your wallet lying on the ground by a gas pump.”
I felt my hip. Sure enough, no wallet. Gulp. My whole life is in that wallet. Besides more cash than I should be carrying, there are credit cards, driver’s license, even an insurance and Medicare Card.
The man went on. “I found your name on your driver’s license, and searched the White Pages, but came up with a phone number that didn’t work. I’m sorry, but I had to look through your wallet. I found your business card with a phone number and you answered. I know if I lost my wallet, I would appreciate it being returned.”
“What’s your name?” I asked. “Are the credit cards and cash still in the wallet?”
“Yes, sir. Cash and credit cards are still there. My name is David Mullins. I live in Rose Hill, over by Oskaloosa.”
“Well, David,” I said, relieved. “How can we get together? There will be a reward for you.”
The next day, Sunday, after church, Ginnie and I met up with David Mullins in Ottumwa. He’s a youngish man, with a beard and friendly face. He was at a garage where he and some pals were working on restoring a ‘55 Ford. Of course, I gave him a reward. He had rescued my wallet, credit cards and identity, saving me from all kinds of grief. Thank you, David Mullins! There are honest people in this world.
It reminded me of a few years ago while vacationing in Kauai. I was jogging along the beach early in the morning, enjoying the spectacular view of waves crashing on rock cliffs. I came upon a campsite from the night before, and spotted a wad of cash lying on the sand. Not wanting to leave it there, I picked it up and was able to get it returned to the rightful owner. What goes around comes around.
I have also been in Rose Hill, where David Mullins lives. I have insurance clients there. Rose Hill, like its name implies, is a pristine little town of a couple of dozen homes, just off Highway 92, east of Oskaloosa. From what I know of Rose Hill residents, they are inordinately trustworthy and friendly.
When I was visiting my clients in Rose Hill, I noticed a doe hanging around their barn. I asked about it and was told the story. They had found the fawn after its mother had been killed by a car. They bottle fed the fawn, and raised it until it could survive on its own. They opened the gate to the paddock, but the young deer, named Rosie, after Rose Hill, refused to leave. They drove Rosie out, which hurt her feelings, and shut the gate. Rosie jumped back in. So, there you have it. Why leave Rose Hill?
My wallet being returned to me intact is part of what I believe has happened to me all my life. I am protected. I’m embarking on my life work, which is a book I’m calling, “Protected.” The story about my wallet being returned may be one of the chapters.
If you haven’t seen “Hacksaw Ridge” yet—see it!
Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at email@example.com, or find him on Facebook. Curt’s stories are also read at 106.3 FM in Farmington.