We've all lost something valuable -- our phones, our old family photos, our childlike sense of wonder. You just have to accept it and replace that little void in your life with a new phone, new memories, and lots of tequila. But occasionally the Universe intervenes to return what you've lost ... and occasionally the Universe is so weird about it that you've gotta start wondering if you're in a Truman Show situation. For example ...
Darren Chick, a British man living in California, had a lovely little pet parrot named Nigel. That is an adorable start to a Pixar movie, and appropriately enough, here's the part where they rip your heart out: Nigel slipped out one day, flew away, and became lost. Somehow he wound up at a garage sale, where he was purchased by a pair of elderly Guatemalan-Americans. They named him Morgan, after the rum (it has a parrot on the label), and taught him some Spanish phrases. Nigel Morgan the rum-loving British expat parrot lived happily with his new family for four years, until he escaped again. This time he was found and taken to a vet, who initially mistook Morgan for her missing parrot.
Ronel Lowe/Adobe Stock
The vet checked the parrot's microchip and determined that it belonged to Chick. Chick wept "tears of joy" after reuniting with Nigel, but was baffled as to how the bird had picked up not only Spanish phrases, but also dog barks, a garbage truck imitation, and the opening bars of The Good, The Bad And The Ugly theme. What the hell kind of adventure had he been on all these years?
Chick was about to find out. The granddaughter of "Morgan's" owners saw a newspaper article about Chick and Nigel's unlikely reunion, and emailed the paper explaining that her 86-year-old grandfather had been heartbroken by the bird's escape, especially since Morgan had been a comfort after his wife's death. After hearing this, Chick decided to give the bird back to the man, because seriously, this is at least a DreamWorks film.
In 1999, Massachusetts resident Kim Flanders put her handbag on the roof of her car, loaded up her kids, then drove away. Had this been a romantic comedy, the bag would've fallen through the roof of a passing convertible and she'd have been married to someone named Ryan within a month, but as it was, she just lost her bag. When she realized her error, she went back to the parking lot to look for it, but no luck.
18 years later, Dondi Mitchell decided to go fishing in Silver Lake and dredged up, of course, Flanders' bag. Mitchell recognized the name on the ID as belonging to a woman whom he graduated high school with in Orange, Massachusetts (home to about 7,800 people). So Mitchell got in touch with Flanders on Facebook, and mailed the bag to her new home in Florida.
The bag was filled with rocks, presumably to weigh it down after someone plundered and disposed of it, but it also contained including two well-preserved rings from Flanders' first marriage. Oh, and the date of that marriage? June 2 -- the same date Mitchell fished up the pocketbook. Coincidence? Yes, completely. But it's a big one!
Back in 1960, 18-year-old Bill Leech was studying French at Grenoble University when he lost his wallet at a ski resort pub. So he did what we all do when we lose a wallet: briefly hated himself, got all of his personal documents replaced, and considered but ultimately rejected the idea of a wallet chain, because no one wants to be a wallet chain person.
Family Business/Adobe Stock
55 years later, the old wooden bar of the pub was uprooted and moved. That's when a carpenter discovered the wallet wedged in an overlooked hole. The man told his sister about the find, and she told her English-speaking neighbor, and together they used the power of the internet to track down now-73-year-old parish council chairman Bill Leech. They offered to mail the wallet to Bill, but after uttering an extremely British "Good heavens," he decided to collect it himself while revisiting his old stomping grounds. Hopefully he spent all of the newfound money on booze, as tradition demands.
Tiffany Otterbeck wrapped her two diamond rings in a paper towel while she was cooking and then, goddamn it, she threw the towel out when she was cleaning up. By the time she realized what she'd done, the trash had already been picked up. So Otterbeck called the sanitation department, which seems like a long shot. But the supervisor for her neighborhood was a sanitation superhero.
He ordered the truck to immediately stop its garbage collection, park in a safe area, and remain untouched until that evening. That's when a search party that included Otterbeck, her husband, and five sanitation workers who volunteered to help(!) sifted through seven tons of trash. And they were successful, too, though the search took 45 minutes that none of them ever want to speak of again.
In 1938, Jesse Taylor Mattos graduated high school in Dunsmuir, California, received a class ring for his troubles, then almost immediately lost the ring in the toilet of the butcher shop he worked in, because that's how life says, "Hello, welcome. Here's what to expect from the rest of me."
In 2011, Tony Congi was doing maintenance on some local sewer lines when he spotted a flash of gold in a bucket of debris. He fished the ring out, cleaned it off, saw "Class of 1938" and "J.T.M." written on it, and put on his detective hat. He went to Dunsmuir High School and found that Mattos was the only 1938 graduate with those initials, then he contacted a neighbor who had also graduated in 1938, because apparently, no one leaves Dunsmuir alive. That classmate was a friend of Mattos' (of course!), and they gave Mattos' phone number to Congi, who showed up in person to return the ring. By that point, Mattos was 90 years old, and upon receiving the ring commented, "Doesn't sound like you've done too much maintenance in 72 years." Because 90 years old is a full decade past "crotchety."
As an alternative, maybe consider a money clip?
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