Writing 101 – Day 16 – Lost and Found

Posted: June 23, 2014 in Writing 101


Lost and Found


My name is John.

Up until two days ago, I was working in a hotel. The Maddison Hotel on the Brighton sea front, to be precise. I was the head porter, and I had worked there for twenty-nine years. Now, my duties consisted of, in the main, fetching and carrying luggage up and down the various floors for our guests. Not the most glam job in the world, but it paid the bills, and in the main the people I met were nice to me. I got a few tips here and there, which were always appreciated. It’s funny, the most generous guests were the ones who didn’t seem to have a great deal of cash, whereas the ones you’d expect a nice handshake concealing the crisp notes were always so miserly. But anyway, that’s not the point of this.

One of the perks of the job was dealing with the lost and found items. It used to make the days more interesting, trying to find out what item belonged to which guest. Steve (my colleague) and I ran a little competition with each other on a week by week basis to see who could reunite the most items to the most guests. The loser each week would have to buy the other a couple of pints in the bar before we clocked off on the Saturday night. It was a close run contest, with each of us probably neck and neck. We used to love seeing people reunited with their lost items. Sometimes, guests would come to our little office and claim the goods themselves. If this happened, whoever was on duty would simply treat it as one for their tally. We have reunited dolls and teddies to children, jewellery to grateful women, and watches to equally grateful men and women. Wallets, keys, clothes (including countless pieces of underwear) have all been on our hit list. Some more obscure items such as: a crocodile head, a canoe, a bicycle wheel, a police badge, a pet cat and three (yes three) wheelbarrows have all been reunited with their owners. Some people are exceptionally grateful that they offer us rewards. Well, it’d be rude not to take it!

Anyway, what I have omitted to tell you so far is that after six months, if we hadn’t found the owner, or if the owner of an object hadn’t claimed their property, then it was ours to keep. By law. Totally straight up. You can check it out if you want to. Totally legit. Sometimes the sign in register is fuelled with Mr and Mrs Smiths that it is hard to track people down! Anyway, Steve and I have already laid claim to many items. Normally, we just put them on Ebay or something and split the bounty, or if it’s something we like, we take it in turns to take it away with us.

Now, you may have noticed earlier I said I used to work at the hotel. This is because of the most recent unclaimed item. It had been in our care for one day shy of six months up until a few days ago. It was a briefcase – locked, with no distinguishable names or markings on. Just a run-of-the-mill case. We had asked hotel members, at the time of finding it, to see if it belonged to anyone. No takers. We couldn’t open it as it had a combination lock on both sides. We had shaken it, gauged its weight, but we had no idea what was in it. Now, as the time pushed on, it was officially going to be ours in a few short hours.

That was 2 days ago. Well, Steve and I decided to flip a coin for it, to see who would take it home with them. I won the toss.

As I got it home, I wasted no time opening it. I jimmied the lock open with my wife’s knives and my screwdrivers. It took a good twenty minutes. Well, when I got it open, it was a sight to behold.

Staring back at me was her Majesty the Queen. Many, many times. I was in awe of the hundreds and hundreds of fifty pound notes. I called the wife in from the front room. She screamed. I screamed. The kids came running downstairs in all the fracas. They screamed too. The four of us just looked at each other. Emma (my youngest) picked up a stack of notes in a bundle. She flicked through them. My son did the same. My wife joined them. I was too afraid to pick a bundle up. I walked into the living room and phoned Steve. I didn’t tell him over the phone what I’d found, but he was round within twenty minutes.

We set down to task and in no time at all, all five of us had counted a sum of cash. We totted up the total to be £240,000. We counted again. The second count confirmed our first count.

Steve and I had a serious talk about the cash. We were certain it was ours and we were the rightful and legal recipients.

Steve was unmarried, and he was happy when I offered him half the booty. Of course he was, but he thanked me and said he would happily take £80k. Fine by me. He thought it was a fair proportion.

Anyway, that brings us to now. Both Steve and I tendered our resignations the following day, and the five of us are here now, enjoying ourselves around the luxurious pool at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. I’m quite a frugal chap, and I know we can make this £160k last a good while.

Life throws you a lifeline every now and then. Look out for yours.




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