Last Tuesday’s adventure

Afternoon sun shone benevolently on me. The King’s Singers harmonized from speakers all about me. Tires whirled away the miles beneath me.

What a beautiful day for a long drive alone! I rarely take solo trips, but I was en route to meet a friend in grief, four hours away, at a viewing. I had a full tank of gas and a good GPS. I planned to buy dinner along the way, and refill with gas for the drive home into the night.

About an hour from home, I saw one of the exits I needed to take. Wait, 76? I’m getting on a toll road? Why didn’t I realize there was a toll road? I never carry cash. What am I going to do?

I reached inside my purse for my wallet, to see, I suppose, if an angel had miraculously tucked a fifty into one of its pockets. I knew I hadn’t, sure as death and taxes.

That’s when I received my second newsflash.

My purse contained no wallet.

At all.

See Shari. See Shari panic. See Shari dig through the right pocket and the left pocket and the in between pocket. Still no wallet. And then I remembered. In preparation for a hike with my kids that morning, I’d transferred my wallet to my son’s backpack so I didn’t have to lug my purse up and down that ravine. And I’d forgotten. To put. It back.

I pulled into the V between the main road and the exit, unwilling to commit to going anywhere until I’d had a moment to recheck the plan. What am I going to do? Now I had not only a shortage of cash, but a complete absence of checkbook, debit card, driver’s license, ID. And I was an hour from home. Oh Lord, what am I going to do?

I called my husband Ryan. Honey, I have a problem. I prefer understatements in delicate times like this, but I think I may have gone as far as to say I have a big problem.

He is a good man in an emergency. He doesn’t judge, and he doesn’t freak out. I could hear him hitting keys on his computer, looking for options. I can go without dinner, I said heroically. Are there other routes I could take to avoid the toll road?

Uhhh, he said, searching. No, there really aren’t. It would add a lot to your time. The toll road is just the best way. And you’ll still need gas to get there and back, won’t you?

He was right, and my heart sank.

I’m just trying to think if I could have someone meet you, he said. But I had little extra time. I was already planning to catch the last hour of the viewing. Surely there, I could find someone who’d be willing to lend money to a woman in distress from brain issues and general incompetence – if I could bear the embarrassment of need – but first I had to get there. Which took money.

You know, Ryan said, I bet if you could find a PNC bank, they’d be willing to work with you, even without a card.

And where, I thought cynically, will I find one of those? But what I said was, Hon, I don’t have any ID.

Even so. I bet they would. We can call and see what they’re willing to do. Let me look – here’s one –

People, do you know that by a miracle of Jesus, there was a branch of our own bank two blocks from where I’d pulled off? I drove there, while Ryan dialed the number and switched us to a conference call.

A manager answered, calm and professional. Ryan explained the situation without even making me look like an ignoramus.

Oh, does your wife have our mobile app? she asked. You don’t need a card for a withdrawal using that.

I don’t believe she does, he said, refraining from adding, I’m not sure if she even knows what an app is. She’s practically Amish.

Where is she? She’s outside? Oh my, tell her to come on in. We can definitely help her.

In person, Jennifer was as helpful and respectful as she’d sounded on the phone. She took me back to her desk and asked for my social security number to look up the account. Then she asked me to confirm my birthdate and address, and followed it up with, How much money would you like to withdraw?

Within minutes, I was back on the road, tires whirling, music playing, sun shining – feeling more thankful to Jesus and more respectful of my husband than I had for some time. What I want to know is, how did they know exactly what to do? My entire delay took 20 minutes or less, and since I’d left home in plenty of time, I was right on track.

I won’t say I didn’t watch the speed limits conscientiously, and the ditches for deer, in case of facing troubles of another kind without ID. I won’t say I didn’t slump in relief when I turned into my own driveway late that night.

What I will say is that I never want to be without cash again.

But if I ever am, hey – I know I’ll be in good hands.

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4 years ago

“Practically Amish” ???????? Loved the story!

4 years ago

Wow! A husband who does not easily get flustered was your saving grace. Miracles still happen! This world is still full of kind people!

4 years ago

Yeah, i laughed out loud at the, “I’m not sure if she even knows what an app is. She’s practically Amish.” ????

Laura Keller
4 years ago
Reply to  Jean

Yes, Jean, “refreshing” like the Amish….

4 years ago

That line made me laugh, too. I think a lot of moms are so busy trying to keep everyone alive and relatively clean that they don’t have time for lots of technology exploration. At least, this one doesn’t. God cares. And He cares about forgotten wallets and stress and all that.

4 years ago

Husbands are a marvel. I’ve been forever more thankful for Jesus and a man who can solve my problems more times than I can count!

Regina S
4 years ago

Praise the Lord for understanding husbands. I loved the line ” She’s practically Amish”????

Priscilla F.
4 years ago

I couldn’t even do a return for an in-store credit at Walmart without my wallet the other night! God’s grace is amazing, particularly in small things?! 🙂

Rachel Habegger
4 years ago

Beautiful story. Thank you.

4 years ago

I liked the line “‘I can go without dinner’, I said heroically”. Ever once in a great while, when the chance to pamper ourselves (for once) is tantalizingly near, it takes heroic stoicism to see the moment pass. Yesterday, I was anticipating a long leisurely morning because my husband and boys were camping out at our pond. A five a.m.rain brought them home, and I had to give up my ideal morning in exchange for real life – hanging out in my bedroom with my coffee and noisy baby so that the older ones could finish out their night on the living room floor… but hey, at least I still had my coffee 🙂

4 years ago

“I’ve gone bright red. So, how about them eggs?”

4 years ago

Several things that I love about this. The amazing way it all worked out, of course; that you were willing to drive that far to be among the 900 that went through that viewing (that is wonderful, is what I’m saying); and that you also listen to King’s Singers, which is one of my favorite groups!

Sarah Sauder
4 years ago

Your husband is awesome. And how great is Our God. And thanks for the good story-telling. I had to laugh aloud a couple times too.

4 years ago

Okay. Now you are making me cry again. And laugh. Thanks for sharing the story behind your sacrificial visit.

So thankful for wise, kind husbands who get their wives out of problems of their own making without rubbing it in.

Reba L Patches
4 years ago

Shari, I loved your story and laughed out loud. Mostly because I am blessed to be married to a man who would have reacted so very much like yours…as he has when I have done various and sundry stupid things over 23 years of marriage.

4 years ago

This story makes small the times I’ve stood in the checkout line, aghast that I left my wallet in another purse. I’m glad Ryan could be the hero 🙂

4 years ago

Sons’ wallets do swallow mothers’ credit/debit cards some days too, when said sons are big enough to run around and do errands. Then mother ends up in the checkout line minus a card. And this one doesn’t carry cash either. And if I had to give my SS number, I would definitely need my husband. He has it memorized for me. Numbers are my foes. What marvelous adventures you have!

4 years ago

I’m so sad to have missed seeing you at the viewing. I would have lent you money in your distress. 🙂 You were within 5 minutes of my house! Wish I could’ve sent some coffee with you for the ride home. Blessings to you for your willingness to drive that distance and share in Gina’s grief.

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