The simple, but virtuous act of one kind stranger who returned a Fair Lawn man's lost wallet this week set in motion a course of events that will benefit the entire community.
A Radburn resident wrote sizable checks to both the Fair Lawn food pantry and the Fair Lawn public library Wednesday after his lost wallet, which contained about $180, was returned intact. The good Samaritan who returned the wallet refused a monetary award.
"I decided that the donations to the food pantry and the library were the way I'd honor the civic virtue of this gentleman," said the relieved Radburn resident (we'll call him JB), who wished to keep his name and the amount of his donations anonymous.
JB had just paid for a few purchases at the Radburn CVS and was getting into his car when he believes his wallet fell out of his pocket.
"I realized I had lost the wallet when I got to the AAA on Broadway for maps, and couldn't get out my membership card," he said. "I went nuts looking for the wallet, asking inside CVS several times, rummaging through the garbage cans, then repeating everything."
JB's frantic hunt turned up nothing, so he went home and canceled all of his credit cards and had a friend drive him to the Department of Motor Vehicles to procure a new license.
That evening, however, a man arrived at his house with the wallet.
"He said he had been at my house before but missed me while I was going crazy trying to find my wallet," JB chuckled. "Everything was still inside the wallet, and he refused a monetary reward."
As a result of JB's generous donations to the food pantry and the library, his gain has become the community's -- particularly those residents most in need.
Food pantry coordinator Liz Twiggs said she's actually doing pretty well with supplies currently, having been sustained by a hefty heaping of holiday donations. But there are still some items that the pantry always struggles to stock.
"I am always in need of juice, snacks for kids, tuna, salmon, meats in cans, milk (boxed or dry), canned fruit and personal products (toilet paper, shampoo, razors, etc.)," Twiggs said.
Residents who wish to make donations to the food pantry can stop in at the Health and Human Services Department on the first floor of the Fair Lawn municipal building.