The Case Of The Missing Wallet
In 1999, I was in Thailand for Exercise Cobra Gold working for about 3 weeks in Korat. Managed to get some time off in Bangkok and stayed, along with my Colonel, at the Monarch Lee Garden (now I believe a Novotel?). I had stayed at the MLG a few times before and thought it was a great hotel, with excellent rooms, courteous staff, and a great buffet breakfast on the 2nd floor. Also, I am on per-diem – so the hotel and meals are paid for by the US government.
Everything was going along fine at the MLG until time for check-out. I couldn’t find my wallet. I need to say that I normally carry an organizer/day-planner with my necessities and leave my wallet with credit cards, military ID, drivers license, etc. in it. This was stashed in the in-room safe. Get ready to leave my room and lo and behold – no wallet in the safe. I look in it about 20 times, search the room from top to bottom – but alas – no wallet. I had to leave as the Colonel was waiting for me – so I wrote it off as a loss. I still had enough cash with me to cover the hotel bill, breakfast and the exit tax at the airport. All the way home I swore that the wallet was in the safe.
Fast forward to one year later. I am back in Thailand for another Cobra Gold and this time we are down in Nakhon Si Thammarat. I have to work for a few weeks and then get some time off in Had Yai and then off to Bangkok for a few days prior to going to Pattaya and then back home. I am to meet a good Thai friend (female – works for Gov office – good girl) at the airport and then we will go off to dinner after check-in. I get to Don Muang and my friend meets me and off the MLG we go. I check-in and the girl at reception greets me like I have only been gone a few hours instead of one year and tells me she has a package for me. It will be delivered to my room in “just a minute”.
Now my supervisor was in Bangkok to see his wife (on vacation from Hawaii) and I had been in contact with him telling him my whereabouts for the past couple of weeks. I figured it was something from him or perhaps from my unit in Hawaii. My itinerary was made available to fellow soldiers.
Me and my friend get to the room and I am getting ready to go out to dinner and I get the knock on the door. I am handed a sealed envelope – approximately 8” X 11” – that I have to sign for. Inside is ……..my lost wallet. It was fully intact with all my credit cards (cancelled), my military ID (replaced) and my drivers license (also replaced). There was also about 5000 baht and about $60 US still there. All my other “wallet junk” was there too.
I thanked the girl, gave a tip, and continued to get dressed for dinner. My friend, was absolutely livid. She was ready to “go off” on the girl that delivered my wallet , but held back. She wanted to contact the manager of the hotel and ask him why no attempts were made to contact me despite the fact that my drivers license has my home address on it. I told her – mai pen lai. I got my wallet back, nothing is missing, there was a minor inconvenience of replacing documents – but no big deal. I actually wrote a letter of thanks to the manager the next day and got super service by all staff for the rest of the trip. I chalk it up to “this is Thailand”.