Hinderman: A change of heart — and a birthday saved
By Laura Hinderman Citizen Journalistfirstname.lastname@example.org July 18, 2013 1:20PM
Note found with returned wallet. | Supplied photo
Updated: August 22, 2013 6:11AM
Chances are, everyone remembers his or her 21st birthday. Elaborate plans are made, fun times abound, the beginning of real adulthood — a great time in your life.
Most people can tell you what they did when they turned 21, where they went and who was celebrating with them. Plus, the stories get better as you recall them with each passing year.
Orland Park resident John P. “JP” Lange certainly will never forget his 21st birthday, which was July 7. Lange is a 2010 Carl Sandburg High School graduate who attends Moraine Valley Community College.
Two days before his birthday, Lange was visiting friends in Oak Forest, and when he went back to his car, he discovered that his wallet was missing. He realized he had lost it.
Lange mentally went through a checklist of items that were in his wallet (driver’s license, credit cards, cash), thought about what he needed to take care of immediately — what was replaceable (driver’s license, credit cards) and what was irreplaceable, such as photos.
He was especially upset that his 21st birthday was only two days away. If ever there were a time in your life that you want to have proper identification, turning 21 would be it.
His plans to celebrate his milestone birthday in downtown Chicago were in jeopardy without proper identification.
The next day, while Lange was at his bank, taking care of his financial issues, his father left a message on his voicemail stating, “The wallet is here!”
Someone had left the wallet (with everything intact, although out of its original order) and a note at their front door.
The note read, “When I took your wallet I didn’t realize your birthday was this weekend and then I felt bad so Happy Birthday!”
Lange headed home and to his relief found that his wallet still had everything it had contained, including mementos and photos.
Funny thing — if the thief had returned the wallet just a few days later, Lange might not have gotten it back because the family is moving.
Lange said he feels no malice toward whoever lifted his wallet. In fact, he takes away from this experience that “somebody actually cared.
“Yes, the person took it, but they changed their mind and actually did the right thing. I would like to thank them for doing the right thing and thereby saving my birthday,” he said.
The story has a further happy ending because Lange and his friends were able to celebrate (safely and responsibly) his turning 21 in Chicago’s Wrigleyville area.
Happy birthday, JP! We know you will always remember becoming 21 and your unusual story of a thief with a soft heart, who made up for his crime by doing the right thing.