In mid July of 2019 Tatiana and I did five or six days in Prague, took a train trip to Munich and endured a briefly terrifying lost-wallet episode, and then took another train ride and had a couple of relaxing days in Zurich.
Munich nightmare: Soon after arriving in Munich I took an Uber to meet a journalist friend at a beer garden. The Uber driver was a 40ish Greek immigrant named Oscar. Friendly but maybe a wee bit slow on the pick-up. Anyway, I got out and Oscar took off. 10 seconds later I realized my wallet was missing.
Uber’s search engine didn’t give me Oscar’s phone, but it allowed me to write him and report the loss through their relay software. It also allowed me to write management and ask them to reach out to Oscar, etc. Agitated and scared, I sent three identical messages to Oscar and Uber management. Five minutes passed…nothing. Ten minutes. Then I got a message from Uber saying that they’d passed the news along to Oscar, blah blah. But no Oscar reply.
After 20 or 25 minutes I figured it was a lost cause, and so I called another Uber to take me back to the hotel. And of all the Uber drivers in Munich, Oscar answered and said he’d be there in three minutes. “Oscar!” I wrote back. “I left my wallet in your car less than half an hour ago!” Then he pulled up and I jumped in. “Do you have my wallet?” I asked. “No,” he said, and my heart sank. Then he said, “I gave it to the police.”
Tennessee Williams: “Sometimes there’s God…so quickly!”
So we drove to the precinct in question, and sure enough the wallet was there. And the cops were really friendly. I thanked them, and one said, “You should thank this guy,” referring to Oscar. “But of course!” I said. Happy ending! A $40 tip for Oscar, which he wouldn’t accept at first. But I insisted. I should’ve made it $50 or a $100, I know.