Minister Loses Wallet; Nice Person Hands It In (And Sells Story)

By Craigie_B Last edited 109 months ago
Minister Loses Wallet; Nice Person Hands It In (And Sells Story)

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James Purnell, now reunited with his wallet and security pass
The festive spirit has clearly swooped into Soho.

Last week, deep in the heart of our favourite furtive area of London, the Government's Work and Pensions Secretary, James Purnell (one of Labour's rising stars), managed to lose his wallet and security pass.

Two things strike us as remarkable about this:

1) Politicians linked to activities in Soho often "have some explaining to do", especially if they are found in any of the seedier venues.

In an eminently believable story, the Cabinet Member had apparently been over-shopping in the Oxford Street sales (Note To His Press Office - Useful to underline this as it shows your master is supporting UK PLC at this difficult economic time). His hands full, clutching bags of recently-acquired bargain swag, he dropped his wallet while sauntering down Dean Street.

Fortunately, much of Dean Street is one of the nicer bits in Soho - quite funky and bordering on the gay quarter. Anyway, we digress. Back to what's remarkable about this:

2) A passerby found the wallet and actually Handed.It.In!

Lordy. The last time that happened to this Londonista was while cycling at speed through Elephant and Castle - the wallet had worked its way out of a rear pocket and flew through the air, hitting a homeless person who believed it had fallen from heaven. As God would have no doubt wanted, he nicked the cash and handed the rest in to the police.

In James Purnell's case, the picker-upper (who clearly had not heard of the infamous 'Finders Keepers' policy) didn't even pocket the cash. Crikey. James, in shock, phoned the honest chap back later to thank him.

It's not all completely fluffy and nice though. The passerby managed - selflessly? without payment? - to talk exclusively to the Sunday Mirror, who promptly printed an 'oooh, what a security breach palaver' story.

Still, the story fills us with a warm feeling inside, especially when we still hear people berate London for not being friendly enough. We remain curious as to which sales James Purnell had been plundering - we reckon Topman and M&S are most likely. He doesn't look much like a Primark chap to us. We'll check his labels next time we see him, though.

Image from Learn4Life's Flickrstream under the Creative Commons Licence

Last Updated 04 January 2009

RobinB

The surprise of having something you lost handed back to you really shows how the English (or maybe just Londoners) think of the honesty of their fellow Englishmen ... I'm German and - at least in the cities I've lived so far - you can always expect stuff you lose to be handed to a Lost&Found desk at your nearest police office. It's the norm not an exception to get your wallet back (especially if you lose it in public transport). My sister lost a wallet in the tube (only with her oyster and debit card inside), and sure enough, it never reached the lost&found of TFL. Oh well, different countries, different habits, i guess :)

NannyState

He recently lost something else one night at Hampstead Heath, and in a way, it too was "handed back".