December 18, 2010

The wallet and Karl

  This photo has nothing to do with the post. Its purpose it simply to draw your attention. (I guess it also has another Karl in it. I took it in 2007 on the Red Square in Moscow)

Yesterday, my husband found a wallet in the garage of our apartment building. He went down to get a pack of water bottles from the car, and he stumbled upon that object. He opened it, and found that it contained a driver's license. Finding the owner was pretty easy after that. He lives in our building. My husband told this story so calmly that you might think he finds wallets like that every day. Meanwhile, I was jumping up and down, asking these question 1) "Why didn't you take me with you to give back the wallet? I would have loved to see the expression on the people's faces." 2) "What else was in the wallet? Maybe a treasure map?" 3) "What did they say? Did they already know they lost it?"

It turned out that he didn't care what else was in the wallet. He knocked on the door of its owner for a while before anybody answered. My husband asked the man who opened the door "Is it yours?", and he said that it was. Then his wife appeared behind him, quietly saying "Oh my God..."

"So, if anybody comes up to us later to say something, it might be them," my husband said to me. Then he added "Do you remember Karl?"

This is the story of Karl:

Two years ago, we were riding in the elevator, when we saw a poster about a lost cat named Karl.
It was summertime. Three weeks passed since we saw the poster, and we were on a walk. We were a little way away from the building when we saw a cat in the evening dusk. I remembered Karl, and I had this hunch. I called him by his name. The cat stopped, and looked at me. We decided to try picking him up and bringing him back to our building, but he wouldn't let us touch him. So, my husband stayed to guard the cat while I went to get the owners.
I knocked on their door for the longest time, but, even though I clearly heard some footsteps in the room, nobody opened it. A guy came out of the door nearby; I explained the situation, and we started knocking together. In a little while, we agreed that I will go and help guarding the cat while he continues knocking.

A while passed, Karl's very sleepy owner came out, and together, we started the hunt. I'm pretty sure Karl remembered who she was. He would approach her, and then get back, but he wouldn't let her pick him up. It seemed like he'd had a hard time for a while. His owner saw that and started crying about the state he was in.

Some people passed by - some of them stopped to help us, while other looked at us like we were crazy. I remember one girl even tied her dog's leash to a tree, and started crawling around in the bushes with us, after Karl. More and more people joined in. We were worried that he would climb up on the tree, and we would have to call the fire department. Eventually, we made a sort of chain together, and trapped him by a flowerbed. The owner took off her shoes and pretty much jumped on the cat, finally capturing him.

I saw her a couple of weeks later, and she took quite a long time thanking me.


  1. Really enjoyed this post, lots of things going on! Great photo of Red Square, I've been there twice but both times in 2008 so I missed you by a year!

    I wonder why the wife said 'Oh my god'. I would have been like you, wanting to go along to return the wallet and see what the response was from the owner etc.

    As for the story of Karl the cat that sounds like quite an epic. All those people getting involved to must have been a strange experience to partake in. I'm so glad you got the owner reunited with the cat. :-)

  2. Hi Happy Frog and I,
    When you know me better, you understand that lots of things go on all the time :) I don't even need to leave my apartment.
    These people didn't know that the wallet was lost.
    For the wife it was the moment when she realized it.

  3. Hi Hi Happy Frog and I,
    LOL I was checking your blog, when you were checking mine.

  4. What a wonderful tale ... with just the right ending ... and Christmassy, too, in uniting people, if only for a brief time. I loved reading it.

    Looking forward to the sequel, if 'wallet man' comes to your door.

  5. Interesting photo of a place I am never likely to go to.

    Love the story of Karl hope that he soon settled back with is owner again.

    If that had been my wallet that your husband had found, I am sure he would have gone home with a bottle of wine to say thank you :) Diane

  6. this is a good story....lucky for Karl that you didn't give up!!! Thanks for visiting my blog and for the nice comment.

  7. When I visited the Red Square in 1979 it looked quite different. No jeans and colourful tops then! Being a 'cat person' I really enjoyed your 'Karl story'. And btw, I'm sure you'll get to meet the wallet owner, some time, some where! Martine

  8. Nice tale Olga, life in your apartment sounds a lot more fun that in mine.

  9. Great stories, Olga! It's refreshing and encouraging to see that good people like you and your husband still exist in the world. Way to go!

  10. Lovely tale about Karl. I like happy cat stories and of how people go out of their way to look after animals. And other people (like in wallets). I dropped my wallet in a shop in Cork last week, and almost hugged the young girl who ran after me with it. I couldn't stop thanking her. Let us know if you ever meet Lost Wallet Man.

  11. What a wonderful story, Olga. I love that everyone got involved with the search for Karl, too.

  12. Hi aguja,
    I wouldn't have noticed without you mentioning it. It is a Christmas story.

    Hi Diane,
    Is seems that we constantly exchange some virtual trips with you:) I am happy that I found a partner:)

    Hi Happy Frog and I,
    Yes, yesterday, we had excellent incident.

    Hi Helene,
    Welcome to my blog. Then, it felt so normal to find poor Karl. Now I realize how lucky he is.

    Hi Martine,
    I have an idea for a post just for you - about my visit to Moscow in 2007

    Hi David,
    Yes, we have about 80% of fun and 20% of bitter disappointment. (Like yesterday, when the downstairs neighbours left their dogs in their apartment, and we could hear them howling all day long.)

    Hi Christine,
    Thank you so much. I don't think we are so ideal in real life :) It depends on the circumstances.

    Hi Dolly,
    I'll keep you posted if I ever run into him again :)

    Hi Andrzej,
    Thank you for your compliment. Today, we're going to visit the St. Lawrence Market. I'm planning to take lots of photos.

    Hi Talli,
    It was definitely a special moment at the end, and the people didn't even want to disperse right away, even though there was nothing more to do.

    Hi Spangle,
    Thank you very much! Welcome to my blog.

  13. I love a happy cat story too. Way to go, Karl!

  14. Hi Sarah,
    My own cat has a happy story too. We adopted him 5 years ago. He was 1 year old and in a very bad condition. I can't stand it when animals suffer.

  15. Hiya Olga I thought I would reread this wonderful story again. You and your family have had some adventures living in that apartment building haven't you! You shall miss it I am sure, when you move X