Lost wallet makes 4,500-mile journey home to Wisconsin

And now this reminder of decency and coincidence:

Steve Hiniker, of Madison, Wis., lost his wallet. Last May he stopped to buy some power bars while bicycling in the Czech Republic. He accidentally left it in a small store in Litomerice, about 40 miles from Prague, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Jim Stingl says.

“I called the police department and they didn’t understand what I was saying and they didn’t speak English. I called the visitor’s bureau and they didn’t speak English. I went back to Google and found that the store wouldn’t be open again until Monday,” which was a couple days away, Steve said.

He gave up and figured the wallet was gone forever.

I know. You can see what’s coming, which, for the record, proves that you recognize that things are nowhere near as bad as the daily news suggests. But I digress.

“In the back of my head, I thought people are pretty honest. I wouldn’t be surprised if I get home and find this in the mail anyway,” Steve said.

Jaruska Karbulka, who now hails from Racine, Wis., escaped the former Czechoslovakia during the Soviet invasion of 1968, but she still has family and friends there and is a regular visitor.

To Litomerice.

The shopkeeper, who was originally from Vietnam, knew her from her visits and gave her the wallet because he knew she lives in the United States now.

He didn’t know she lived in Wisconsin.

She found Hiniker via Facebook.

Forty-five-hundred miles and three months later, he has his wallet back.

“They brought me beautiful flowers, his wife and Steve. I gave him the wallet and we have become friends,” Karbulka said. “He trusted me so much. I said check what’s in there, and he didn’t even open the wallet. I said everything is in there, and he said, ‘I know, I know.'”

Hiniker says he never doubted he’d get his wallet back because he knows people are honest.