Dave and Marge–they asked that I not use their last names in this column–are usually suspicious of strangers, with good reason.

They live out in the sticks, in the country, just on the far edge of suburban sprawl. And, though they visit Chicago often, Marge always keeps an eye on her purse and Dave taps his wallet to make sure it’s there.

Dave’s brothers had been victims of pickpockets in the past. And Dave’s sisters were victimized by identity thieves and had their credit ruined. All this has naturally made Dave and Marge wary of strangers.

But they weren’t wary in the cab driven by Ziarat Khan, who recently drove Dave and Marge to the train station after a wine tasting at the Drake Hotel.

After the cab ride, Marge’s wallet was missing, with more than $200 in cash. And later, Dave contacted me.

“The fare was only $8,” Dave said. “I gave him a $10 and told him to keep it. My wife pulled her wallet out of her purse and took some singles out, and I said, ‘I don’t need it, Marge.'”

They were running late, Marge stuffed the singles back into her coat pocket, and they rushed out of Khan’s cab, hurrying to buy train tickets. At the ticket counter, Marge reached for her wallet.

“But she didn’t have her wallet. ‘Check your coat pockets!’ I said. It wasn’t there. So we ran out in front of the train station. We thought maybe it fell out on the curb.”

There was no wallet at the curb, and Khan was gone. They had enough for train tickets, and on the ride home they must have thought about the cabbie counting Marge’s cash, smiling at the find.

Just then Dave’s cell phone rang. It was the credit card company.

“They said, ‘We just got a call from a taxi driver, saying they found your wallet in the cab.” I said, ‘Ahhh, good.'”


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