Stolen wallet Finds Its way home

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was produced by the Winton programme for the public understanding of risk based in the Statistical Laboratory in the University of Cambridge. The aim was to help improve the way that uncertainty and risk are discussed in society, and show how probability and statistics can be both useful and entertaining.

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This is a story that happened to me back in the early 80s. I was about eighteen years old at the time. It takes place on a lake in Ontario Canada, about a hundred miles north of Toronto. The lake is called Gull Lake, and it can be found in Haliburton County Ontario Canada. It's a long narrow Lake, about 2,500 Acres[2] it's about a mile wide and several miles long. And about 160 ft deep in most places. Back in 1983 my family had a cottage on this Lake. A vacation home, a place we went to on the weekends and summer holidays. During that summer of 83 our next-door neighbour had decided to rent out his cottage for the very first time to a couple who planned to explore parts of the lake. They were avid scuba divers. For their very first dive they chose a Rocky island in the middle of the lake, an Island locally known as Gull Rock. It was nothing more than a bunch of Boulders poking out through the water. There was no life on this island other than a couple dozen seagulls that permanently made it their home. No one visited this island because of those seagulls. There wasn't much to tie up to and if you did manage to get out of your boat you would be stepping into years of accumulated bird droppings. This scuba diving couple anchored their small just off of this island and proceeded to dive and explore the underwater slopes of this mountain of Rock. They found nothing of any interest except for one thing. An old leather wallet, a wallet lying flat on a rocky shelf. Apparently this wallet was just lying there all by itself, so easy to see, there's no mud or dirt too obscure it. Nor any vegetarian. It stuck out like a road sign. It was instantly noticed as soon as they went under the water and they headed straight for it. It was obvious to the divers that this wallet must have been dropped or thrown overboard at some point by a passing boat. They retrieved the wallet and discovered it contained several pieces of identification. All of them legible because they were either made of plastic or laminated in plastic. The leather wallet was in early stages of decay but still recognizable as a leather wallet. They ended their dive and headed back to the rented Cottage. They then wondered next door to our Cottage, where my parents and myself were eating dinner. They told us the story of how they found the wallet and then asked us if we might know the person that belong to? All of us laughed and said "what are the chances of that" but then we were all stunned into silence. It was actually my wallet! You see two years prior I had attended a party at a cottage about five miles down from our place on the same lake. It was a Saturday evening during the summer of my 16th year. I had just gotten my driver's license back in June of that year. I remembered that because it was such a pain in the neck having to get a replacement so soon after receiving the original. Back then I was in the habit of keeping my wallet buttoned-down in a breast pocket of my denim jacket. I remembered that that particular night was quite warm and I had taken my jacket off and hung it on the back of a chair. It wasn't until the next morning that I had realized that my wallet had been stolen. There were about a dozen other teenagers at that party, so it would have been impossible to know who had taken it. At the time I accepted it as gone and proceeded to get all of my ID, bank cards Etc replaced. After that I never gave it another thought, not until those people who I had never met before randomly picked my next door neighbor's Cottage to rent for there scuba diving Adventures. So how did my wallet get there? We assumed that after stealing my wallet they must have concealed it and then once they were in their own boat heading back to their own Cottage that evening, they must have pulled the wallet out and checked it for money, which there wasn't any, and then chucked the wallet overboard. It just so happened that they were passing that small rocky Island at the very moment they drpped it overboard. Otherwise the wallet would have sunk to the bottom of the lake where no one would have ever dive to. What are the odds of someone randomly renting a cottage, then choosing to dive in that particular area on a lake that has a surface area of 2,500 acres [2] I mean all of these different events had to line up perfectly. The odds must be quite great. I felt like I won a very bizarre Lottery.
Total votes: 186
Date submitted:Mon, 15 Nov 2021 16:53:50 +0000Coincidence ID:11906