17 October 2007

Public Service Announcement

My mom called me on Saturday afternoon to tell me that dad's wallet was lost. It was late on a Saturday, and Steve and I were out. Shipping would be, to say the least, a little pricey. Cue the mad dash of madness.

Since the US Postal offices were already well past closed at that point, the only other option would be to ship it with a different carrier, like DHL or FedEx. Meanwhile, none of them had a clue as to how expensive this can be. Take it from someone who's made some pretty big messes in his life that it's not cheap. DHL's 10 AM service alone is like $80 on a weekday. This was a Saturday night, and they'd need it before their 9:00 AM flight on Tuesday. There are just some chances you don't take.

They filed the police report, but would be unable to pick it up until Monday, when the station had regular business hours. Meanwhile, a call to the airlines revealed that there was a fair bit of other ... stuff to be done before he could get on the plane, so could they please show up a couple of hours ahead of time? As it is, you already need to be at the airport two or three hours early, to get through security and the rest. Whoof. This was going to be a challenge.

By hook or crook, I managed to contact a family friend, dash over to his place, and scan my dad's passport. I got it on my flash drive, took it home, and sent it in an email. My parents went ahead and took a colour print of the copies, and were ready to bring it on Tuesday before their flight.

The wallet turned up on Monday.

A jogger had seen it on the road, and took it to the station. Fortunately, all the money was still in there, and the guy was honest enough to leave it all in there. None of the cards were fussed with, and everything was in order. My parents managed to pick it up from the station on Monday afternoon. Bear in mind that from Saturday though Monday afternoon both my parents were on edge, because this was NOT a pleasant prospect (i.e., getting new bank, credit, and social security card) to face. Then calling the credit bureaus, and putting up a fraud alert. Then hoping against hope that someone doesn't steal his identity. It would have been an epic disaster.

My mom and I talked this morning, and she said that now that they have the copy of his passport, that they'd be making copies of the rest of that stuff. A thought struck me at that moment. What if that'd been me? I'm leaving to New York in a week, and don't know what I'd do if I lost my ID and credit cards. I don't even have the phone numbers for all those cards to call them. That in itself would take a while to sort out. Then I'd have to figure out how to handle the rest of it. Meanwhile, I'm a USA citizen. To have my stuff stolen would be a major head ache, because my information would go for a fair bit of money.

I told my mom that I had to go, and explained that I'd be going to make the copies NOW. I went in, scanned the front and back of my credit cards, then took a scan of my passport. I emailed it to myself, and have it for safe keeping. Please please do this as well. Have it there for yourself should anything ever happen to your cards. It's just nice to know that you have options.