The safe return of a wallet still full of cash, credit cards and lottery tickets is a sure sign that Christmas spirit is in the air.
And, the tale involves a knight in shining armour – a policeman in a white truck – who saved the day.
The story begins Monday afternoon when Rosemarie Enslin, a senior, passed through the city and made a stopover on her way from Calgary to the coast.
She wanted to get away from the Alberta winter and spend a week on Vancouver Island for Christmas, but first decided to drive along the scenic southern route of Highway 3 and visit friends in Fernie and Rossland.
Here’s what happened, she recounted to the Trail Times.
Rosemarie stopped for gas at the No Frills Gas Bar, gasped at the price because 24 hours earlier she was a paying $0.94 a litre at Costco in Okotoks, but beamed when she looked up and spotted a familiar red and white sign.
“Yesterday I stopped in Trail, at Tim Hortons at Waneta Plaza, for a longed for dark roast, a bowl of soup and a green salad,” she began. “I had just driven from Cranbrook across the Kootenay Pass – which even in my trusty and heavy Ford Escape with its good winter tires was daunting, very slippery roads and more.”
She barreled over to the restaurant with visions of her first dark roast of the day.
“I sat by the fireplace and savoured a tasty late lunch,” Rosemarie said. “Back in the car, I headed towards Rossland where I spent the night at Sweet Dreams Heritage Inn.”
So far so good – until she began settling in for the evening.
“When I started unpacking the car it began to dawn on me, my wallet wasn’t visible,” Rosemarie recalled.
Thinking it must be in one of her bags, she decided to look for it inside the cozy inn.
“It took about 20 minutes of searching before it began to dawn on me, there is no wallet,” she shared. “Oh my gosh, I thought, how am I going to pay, how am I going to drive without my driver’s licence, what if those lottery tickets are the big winners, then there is all that cash I took out of the bank, all my credit cards, the list and anxiety levels grew.”
Struggling to keep calm, and one step at I time, Rosemarie explained the situation to Becky, owner of Sweet Dreams.
“(She) said not to worry, we’d figure something out.”
Becky looked up the Tim Hortons phone number so Rosemarie could make the call.
After a careful search, the restaurant staff had bad news – the wallet wasn’t there.
“Gulp, think, think,” Rosemarie thought. “Cancel credit cards, figure out how to drive without a drivers’ licence, let friends who I am visiting know we’ll need to delay or cancel our dinner plans.”
First things first, she called VISA and cancelled her card, but with no photo ID, Rosemarie didn’t have the option of picking up new plastic from the local bank branch.
“Ok, the rest of the trip is cash only,” she reasoned. “How am I going to get my cash? More logistics, calls, and finally it dawned on me, I better report this.”
Rosemarie contacted the Greater RCMP office in Trail, but it was after hours by now, so the call went through to the Kelowna detachment.
“A sympathetic constable said I didn’t need to drive to Kelowna in the dark or wait until morning, he would take the report over the phone,” she said. “My breathing began to return to normal.”
A couple of hours later, as she sipped chamomile tea in an attempt to calm down, Rosemarie received a call from Constable Ryder Heim of the RCMP in Trail.
“He heard my story and offered helpful suggestions about my next steps in the process,” she recalled. “He then called me back and said he was going to go over to Tim Hortons to see if he could find anything.”
Cst. Heim and staff scoured the restaurant, the officer even checked the garbage.
No luck, so Rosemarie was advised to check back with the coffee shop in the morning when the owner was in because the wallet might have been locked up.
She then began to work out new plans for Tuesday and her westward trek.
But an hour later, Constable Heim called back with unexpected news – someone had turned the wallet into the detachment.
“Everything I described was in the wallet … I was gobsmacked,” she exclaimed. “But, there’s more. Constable Heim drove it over from Trail to me at the bed and breakfast at 11:30 p.m. I happily signed the necessary forms, told him over and over again, how grateful I was. I had a very good night’s sleep thanks to a very kind person in Trail.”
The Good Samaritan who turned in the wallet didn’t leave a name, so Rosemarie has no way to give a formal thank you.
Nevertheless, she can’t believe the kindness she was shown during her ordeal in town and sends out gratitude to all.
“Thank you Trail,” Rosemarie said. “And thank you Constable Heim from the Trail detachment, my knight in a white RCMP truck.
“The spirit of Christmas is certainly alive and well in Trail B.C.!”