“Package for you, Bon.” That’s my dad announcing the mail from the front door. He stamps the snow off his boots and heads to the dining room, where the rest of us are crowded around the kitchen table chattering about Christmas and New Year’s plans.

A package for me? Who would be sending me a package at Dad’s place in Toronto where he had just moved? What could it be? It’s the day before Christmas, but I’m not expecting anything.

All eyes are on me and the mysterious parcel as Dad sets it on the table in front of me.

“Ooohh, maybe it’s from your secret admirer,” my sister Marcia teases. Realizing I’m blushing, I blush even harder.

I turn the package around and notice the address in the upper left hand corner.

“Ha! My secret admirer is from the Boston Police Department!” I retort.


The curiosity quotient in the room soars. Everyone leans in closer, talking all at once.

“Open it!!”

“Let’s see what it is!”

“Should you wait till tomorrow?”

I slowly peel a corner of brown wrapping paper away, puzzling over the unexpected delivery. Then something clicks. Could it be?

I flash back to the previous week. I’m walking down Boston’s Newbury Street window looking for gifts when I stop dead in my tracks. I’m missing something. Something important. I race back to the phone booth where I’d just made a call. No luck. It’s gone. How stupid of me, to leave it. And more stupid to think that it might still be there. 


I tear through the last of the wrapping and open the cardboard box to reveal the contents: my battered old wallet. And amazingly, inside is all of the money – two 10-dollar bills and 59 cents in change, which was a lot of money for a college student in 1973.

“Wow, that’s amazing! That’s the best Christmas gift ever,” my sister says. “Now you can get my present.”

I give her a withering look!

“Kidding,” she insists, leaning back, her hands up in surrender.

“Who would have thought?” my brother remarks. “An honest person!”

“Most people do the right thing,” Dad says in his understated way, with a wink.

We’d heard those famous words of wisdom from Dad many times before. But here was evidence!

“Yeah, Dad, I guess you’re right,” I tell him with a big grin.

My lost wallet is found. But the warmth in the room is from something more: a recognition of our dad’s wisdom and a renewed faith in the decency of human beings.

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