It was a warm and muggy morning for today's ride into work. As I came to the stop light at 15th Street by the Tidal Basin, I happened to look to my right, and something on the ground caught my eye. It was a black bicycle pannier...all by its lonesome.....without its rightful owner..... I leaned over and picked it up and attached it to my bike rack. There were two other bike commuters in front of me at the light - I was kind of surprised they hadn't seen the pannier laying there - but maybe if you're concentrating on the traffic and the light, you're not looking around too much...besides it was sort of a small pannier.
When I got to my desk at work, I slowly started to investigate the innards of the pannier, hoping I wouldn't have to "snoop" too much to find the owner's name and contact information. I first came across an office identification card....it belonged to a lady, and she was an attorney with the Department of Justice. I looked in the first compartment, where there was a large envelope containing trip information that she and her husband had signed up for - - I think a kayak trip on the Amazon! Wow. Inside that envelope was her passport....and the form she had filled out for the trip - which fortunately contained her work and home numbers. I called the work number and got her voicemail. I waited maybe 10 minutes, and checked the bag again, and saw her Blackberry in there. It had a screensaver on it that said it was a government-issued Blackberry, and if it was found, to call a certain telephone number - so I did, and the guy I spoke with gave me another work number for this lady. When I called it, I think I got her secretary, so I explained the reason I was calling. She said yes, the lady had realized she had lost her pannier after she had gotten to work, and took a cab back home (not too far from where I live), to see if the pannier was there and then had the cab driver drive her bike route on the street, to see if they could find it. Of course, part of her bike commute is on a bike path, so the cab couldn't go on that.... When she got back to work, she got my message, and you should have heard how RELIEVED she sounded!! :) She sounded like she was going to cry! So, we arranged for her to come by and pick it up at noon at my office. She shook my hand a couple of times when we met, and was SO happy to have her bag back. She said the bike had fallen over sometime during her commute (maybe she had propped it up when making a stop at a store), and it had loosened the pannier from the rack. So I was happy to have been the one to find and return it. As I've mentioned in this blog before, I've lost stuff before and know how panicked you get when this situation comes up...it's NOT fun!!
I went out for a walk at lunchtime, and when I came back, there was a cute little bouquet of flowers waiting at my desk! The note was from the lady, and said, "Thank You For Restoring My Life!" :) Awww...that was nice of her.... :)