Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers

What do you do when you find a wallet or something of value? It's something to think about.

What do you do when you find a wallet or something of value? Think about it.


Cyclists, more than motorists, find things while riding. The questions is, what do you do when you find something of value? Keep it?

We all know the old saying, “Finders keepers, losers weepers.” I think most of us would rather do the right thing though. But just a minute here. I have a story to tell.

Jobst Brandt and Brian Cox were out for a Sunday ride on Skyline Boulevard when Jobst spied a wallet. He stopped, found the owner’s address, and realized it was just a short distance away on Las Cumbres Road.

I could tell you a story about some rides down Las Cumbres and beyond, but that’s one of those Once Upon a Ride events.

The riders pedaled over to the owner’s fancy house and knocked on the door. The occupant answered and Jobst explained how he found the wallet on Skyline.

Immediately the ungrateful owner started accusing Jobst and Brian of stealing money from the wallet. It was a ugly scene, one that caused Jobst to re-think what he would do the next time he found something of value.

From what I can find online, many people put wallets into mail boxes and let the postal service handle it. Or they give it to the police.

You can never free yourself from the potential accusation that you’ve stolen something, so maybe the postal drop is the best way to go, although it may be illegal, technically speaking, to put anything in a mailbox other than postmarked materials.

I’ve never found a wallet, but I found a cell phone on two occasions. I called the owners and both times they got their phones back. One owner worked just a mile from where I live.

We’ve all found money. I keep it but it’s small change. If you found money in a store and handed it over to the clerk, do you really think the owner would stop by looking for it? Or that the clerk would return it?

That’s a dilemma and one that I’ve never entirely resolved. Since the amount of money isn’t going to change your life, I think the best thing to do is donate it to charity and have a clear conscience.

Of course most of what I find on the road is the random tool and work gloves. Those go into my garage where they have a home and will be put to good use.

6 Responses to “Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers”

  1. ted pauly Says:

    good stuff ray….i usually find a single glove, or sometimes a pair of sunglasses. That’s always nice. I usually try to stop when i see something in the road that may be of some value to somebody…mostly just dead animals though…as you know.

  2. Barry Chaffin Says:

    I found a wallet while cycling last fall and managed to track the owner down. He was very appreciative. I refused to accept any kind of reward at the time. The gentleman was Chinese and a couple weeks ago he insisted on stopping by and giving me something for Chinese New Year. It was a nice gift card to a restaurant.

  3. chris dresden Says:

    I found a checkbook while commuting bike bike on Park Ave in SJ and called the owner who lived off Summit Rd. Very appreciative and stopped by in the morning to pick it up.

    Also spotted a loose dog on Park, got him to come over to me, looked at his tag, and used my cable as a leash and walked him to his house which was just off Park. Knocked on the door and the dog had escaped by an open gate. Again, very appreciative.

  4. Art Harris Says:

    That story brings back memories. When I was about 13 years old (1963), a friend and I were riding around on our 3-speed bikes when I spotted a wallet on the road. Normally when we found coins in the road we would keep them. But this was different. Not knowing what to do I stopped at my grandfather’s house. He found an address in the wallet, and was able to look up the phone number.

    Turns out the wallet belonged to a bike racer! He was more interested in getting his racing license back than the money. He gladly gave me the three dollars in the wallet as a reward.

  5. jeffrey J. Says:

    A few years ago, I had a passerby give me a purse that he found in the parking lot at a business next to our bike shop. That business was already closed for the day. Apparently, he had contacted the woman and had told her the purse would be at our shop. Of course I accepted it and placed it in safe place. And, of course, when the lady comes in, she opens the purse and starts yelling at me about how “a lot of money is missing!” No numerical amount-just “a lot.” Total bad scene. Had to call the police- and wouldn’t you know it- mysteriously, she was suddenly no where to be found… A year or so later I saw her photo in the paper after bring busted in some sort of retail store gypsy scam….

  6. Art Spivack Says:

    Wierd Story…..Found a wallet on the road in Pasadena. I was about 10 miles from where I lived in a rented room. Since the owner of where I lived worked as a police dispatcher at UCLA, i asked her to contact the owner. She thought if I found it in the yard or room at the house since it belonged to the guy who had been renting from her before I moved in and as it turned out owed her slightly less than was in the wallet. The guy accused her of witchcraft. She and I ended up married. I should have believed him and cleared out but didn’t only to find out she was a witch. Would of saved a lot of heartache.

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