The kindness of strangers: Lost wallet goes viral for all the right reasons
Hunter Shamatt, 20, of Brandon, South Dakota touched down in Las Vegas earlier this month for his sister’s wedding. Nervous excitement and anticipation quickly turned to exasperation, however, when Shamatt discovered he had lost his wallet which contained $60 cash, a $400 paycheck, his bank card and rather importantly, his ID card; a particular frustration that many can empathize with.
“It kind of sucked,” Shamatt, who works as a carpenter, told The Washington Post. “I was anxious not having my ID... It being Vegas and all, I figured it was gone forever.” Though he tried the airlines help desk to see if anyone had handed the wallet in, it was bad news; the wallet was gone.
Shamatt was able to borrow money from relatives and still enjoy his sister’s wedding weekend with family but then came the return flight home, with no identification to prove who he was.
“We were very anxious,” said his mother Jeannie Shamatt. “I was worried. I was anxious. He was anxious.”
After an hour-long interview, airport security waved him through and he was allowed to board the plane. A few days after he returned home, however, an apparent holiday season miracle awaited him.
“Hunter, found this on a Frontier flight from Omaha to Denver – row 12, seat F wedged between the seat and wall. Thought you might want it back. All the best,” the note, signed only with initials, read.
“P.S. I rounded your cash up to an even $100 so you could celebrate getting your wallet back. Have Fun!!!”
“No way, no way,” an understandably ecstatic Shamatt said upon opening the package. “That can’t be. No way, just no way.”
His mother Jeannie posted a picture of the note online to try and track down the mysterious and generous stranger, amassing thousands of likes, shares and comments and going viral in the process.
“What a wonderful person with a kind heart,” wrote one Facebook user.
“This is the BEST! I wish they all ended that way,” added another.
Thanks to some amateur investigation skills, Hunter and his mother managed to track the person down; a co-worker of Omaha resident Todd Brown connected the dots between the clues and contacted the Shamatt family.
“Sir, I can’t thank you enough. What you’ve done for me is virtually unheard of,” Shamatt wrote to Brown in a heartfelt note, displaying immense gratitude.
“Never in my life have I or my family witnessed such generosity. I never expected to see my wallet again, let alone with $40 more. Thank you so much, I’ve got student loans and a truck loan and it makes all the difference.”
“He and his wife told me they cried when I told them everything that happened,” Jeannie Shamatt said.
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