Lost and found ad shows that Northland is awash in dropped cashJAIME DELAGE COLUMN: We think of Duluth rolling in the dough about a hundred years ago, but the fact is there’s money practically blowing all over town even today.
By: Jaime DeLage, Duluth News Tribune
We think of Duluth rolling in the dough about a hundred years ago, but the fact is there’s money practically blowing all over town even today.
In fact, you could buy a modest SUV with the cash people drop in the street.
I know this because I put a lost and found ad in the paper recently. I found some money in the street while walking the dogs. It wasn’t much, but I live in a pretty close-to-the-bone neighborhood and I pictured some single mom dropping it while wrestling with a baby and a couple of shopping bags. So I placed the ad.
“Found: Chunk of cash. Tell me where and how much.” Boy did I get some phone calls.
And these weren’t people just taking a guess on the lost-and-found lottery. These people had stories.
The ad first appeared the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The first call came in before lunch that day.
It sounded familiar because I think it was someone who had sent a note to the Eh? column. Their son lost a deposit envelope with about $500 in it complete with a filled-out deposit ticket. They hoped someone would just take it to the bank, but when they saw my ad they thought they found the cash.
“Nope, sorry, it wasn’t near that much money,” I said.
They were disappointed but they thanked me for placing the ad.
The calls kept coming. Eighteen of them, and all of them had lost a chunk of cash in the past few weeks in Duluth or Superior. I didn’t take notes, so the details are mashed together in my memory, but here’s a rough accounting.
They dropped $120 outside the curling club. They lost envelopes of cash fresh from the bank. They lost a couple hundred outside Walmart.
One call turned into a news story. A person who shall remain nameless said they had a deposit go missing — of $26,000.
“I’m certain you didn’t find that, but anyway we thought we’d call.” I felt bad, but I had to mention that one to the boss. The result was our little scoop about the missing money from Bayfront Blues Festival. Sorry about that, caller.
One woman said she lost nearly $5,000 that should have been in her purse. We talked for a while. I got the sense she was afraid the money was stolen by someone she loves, and she was hoping I found it instead.
She thanked me for placing the ad. That was a common theme among the callers: “Thanks for placing that ad, not everybody would.” One guy called just to share that he placed an ad, too, after he found a nice pair of work boots at the car wash. He figured some big-footed working man took them out of his pickup bed before washing it and forgot to grab them on the way out. The caller was a former work-boot wearer, recently retired from the city or the county. He just knew someone was really missing those boots.
Like I said, it wasn’t that much money, so I didn’t have to place the ad. Maybe it was the memory of that $20 I found on my paper route 30 years ago. It was right in front of a customer’s house, but I put it in my pocket. I carried it around for weeks, not willing to spend it. Finally I resolved to drop it in the offering basket at church, but I brought it to church and the devil wouldn’t let me take it out of my pocket.
I don’t know what I finally spent it on, but it wasn’t worth the guilt I feel every time I drive past that house in my hometown.
I’ve still got the chunk of cash I found on my dog walk. I’ll give it one more week. If you think it’s yours, give me a call at (218) 723-5396. Tell me where and how much, and if I’m convinced, I’ll bring it back to you.
If not, I guess I’ll bring it to church and do battle with the devil one more time.
Jaime DeLage is the night editor at the News Tribune. He can be reached at 723-5396.