Donna Gold of Stockton Springs with her lost and then found wallet. Credit: Bill Carpenter

In late December, Donna Gold of Stockton Springs ordered a new backpack from Amazon, unwittingly starting a chain of events that would end months later with a renewed confirmation of her trust in humanity.

Gold, a writer, immediately transferred everything she generally carried in her old pack into the new one, including a small pink pouch that functions as an emergency wallet. In that pouch, she kept credit cards, her driver’s license and more.

But when she decided she didn’t like the backpack and removed all her belongings to send it back to the online retail giant, she accidentally left the pink pouch inside. Two weeks later, she was packing for a trip and noticed that her emergency wallet was missing.

“I looked everywhere — it was gone,” she said.

When she realized what had happened, Gold called Amazon customer service representatives to ask if someone could search for the backpack and the pink pouch.

“They said, ‘I don’t know that we could ever find something like that,’” Gold said.

So she wrote it off as a loss. But she didn’t cancel her credit cards, a decision made because she monitors many bills for her elderly mother and didn’t want to close out all those accounts. She felt that she — or the credit card companies — would notice if there were any bogus charges made. Although her friends and family told her to cancel the cards, she didn’t feel it would be necessary.

“I either thought that nobody would buy that backpack, or I’d be able to figure it out,” she said. “And I just didn’t think that anything bad would happen from that.”

Naive? Sure.

Trusting? Absolutely.

But the thing is, Gold was right.

Earlier this summer, she received a phone call out of the blue from a Michigan man.

“He said, ‘Uh, Donna Gold? I just got a backpack from Amazon,’” she said. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, you found it.’”

The man was Pierre Hall, an engineer who works in the automotive industry and lives in West Bloomfield, near Detroit. He was planning a trip to Japan with some buddies, needed a new backpack and found one online.

When it arrived, it still had the tags on, and was wrapped in a bag that said it had been inspected for quality. But Hall noticed it seemed unusually heavy. He looked through the pack and found two pouches that had been left behind. He opened one, and found Gold’s business card.

“This is important,” Hall said he remembered thinking. “I’ll just send it to her immediately. If I lost something, I would want somebody to do that for me.”

Gold was grateful, and not just to see her wallet again.

“Things come and go, but this experience made me feel so good,” she said. “We’re all so connected these days on social media. But to actually have a connection like this, this is really real. Personal and just lovely … it gave me the sense of a web of connection across the nation, a confirmation of my trust in humanity.”

Hall agreed.

“I knew it could have meant a lot to somebody,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who the person is, or their background. You can always help somebody out.”

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