Finder plays detective

CARYN WIGMORE
Last updated 11:00 21/06/2012
wallet

HONESTY PAYS: Tony Anderson of Kumeu hands the missing wallet to grateful owner Barry Kearney.

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One honest businessman has turned another's misfortune into a windfall.

Maddren Homes Kumeu director Tony Anderson found a wallet bulging with $1200 cash and traced the astonished owner, a charter fishing manager.

The wallet lacked formal identification.

The only clues comprised a Whitcoulls gift voucher and a boat club membership card for Barry Kearney.

Mr Anderson made some investigative phonecalls and tracked down the grateful fisherman.

Mr Kearney's mishap fell on the eve of a family trip to Rotorua.

He was squeezing in last-minute shopping at Westfield West City, Henderson, before packing for a Queen's Birthday retreat.

The Te Atatu businessman unwittingly dropped his wallet in the car park before he drove home.

Mr Anderson reckons he took Mr Kearney's empty car space when he arrived at the mall to buy dinner. He looked down and spotted the lost wallet.

The next morning Mr Kearney was devastated to discover he had lost the holiday spending money he had been safeguarding for relatives.

He still headed away determined to enjoy the vacation with 21 family members – albeit fielding many irksome phonecalls teasing him about his mistake.

But the phone call that counted rang. "I said, `Gidday mate, I hear you've lost your wallet' and he starts ranting and raving," Mr Anderson says.

"I said, `Mate I'm really pleased, here it is, I've got it with all the money in it. This guy's so excited. He didn't even put the phone down – he starts yelling to his wife this guy's got my flipping wallet."

The elated fisherman wanted to shout drinks immediately at the pub, however, Mr Anderson was busy at work.

Mr Kearney then offered a substantial reward but the Maddren director would only accept $50. "I didn't feel right taking the reward," Mr Anderson says. "So I used the money to shout my staff some beers one night."

The former fireman links the good deed to his nature. "I've always been honest and straight up with people and why not?"

Mr Kearney puts it down to kharma.

"I like to think I give people a fair deal in my business and really, what goes around comes around."

Now the relieved benefactor can focus on running his Chaos Charters company. "I was the trusted family banker," he says, "but they'll never let me do it again."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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