Yes, Virginia, there really are some honest people still in the world
Norm Budden of Carson City is one of my longtime fishing and hunting partners and a close friend of many years.
He was with me on my once-in-a-lifetime, successful Rocky Mountain Goat hunt in 2001 in the Ruby Mountains of Northeastern Nevada.
Then, I accompanied him on his 2003 successful muzzleloader buck mule deer hunting trip to Roberts Mountain near the Town of Austin.
Several weeks ago, Norm was deer hunting in the Cabin Creek area near Hinkey Summit in the Santa Rosa Mountains, north of Winnemucca. On that particular trip he was accompanied by Mark Day, also of Carson City.
While on that muzzleloader, buck mule deer hunting trip, Norm was wearing a new pair of “faded sage,” camouflage hunting pants.
During the course of walking all over the mountain range on his first day of hunting (Sept. 17), the stitching came apart on his back pocket (without him noticing) and his wallet fell out.
That wallet contained all of his credit cards, driver’s license, hunting license, hunting tag, and assorted other items, plus a substantial amount of cash.
He did not miss the wallet until later that same day.
Budden and Day returned to the general area where they had hiked and looked extensively, but with no luck. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. His wallet was gone, apparently forever.
On his return to Carson City, he told me about the mishap.
I offered to accompany him back to that area to look one more time before winter arrives.
He graciously turned down my offer and said it was probably lost forever, or until sometime in the far distant future, when someone would find what would be left of it.
Well, on Sunday, Oct. 30, Norm received a telephone call that proves there are still some honest people left in the world.
Harold Curti of Coleville, California was calling on his cell phone to tell Norm that his 14-year-old granddaughter, Shayla Miller of Reno, had found the wallet while the two of them were hunting in that area.
In fact, Harold had stepped over it, without seeing the wallet.
Shayla looked down, saw what it was and told Harold, “Hey, Grandpa, here’s someone’s wallet.”
They looked through the wallet, found a telephone number for Norm, and called him with the good news.
He immediately called me, and I couldn’t believe it. The odds on that happening have to be a Gazillion to one against it.
Then as a special footnote, after calling Norm, Harold and Shayla (who had a buck deer tag) continued to deer hunt. Shayla ended up bagging one of the largest bucks taken in that area this year. She got it in the Singus Creek area.
It is a 4×4 with a 25-inch spread and tines that are 10 inches long.
A very proud grandfather told me that he is having that big buck mounted for her, as a special memory of that hunt.
And, here is where this story really proves that this is truly a small world: Harold’s wife, Barbara, and I serve on the Governor’s Advisory Board on Conservation and Natural Resources, and have done so for many, many years. Barbara represents Ranching Interests and I represent Conservation Interests.
During that time, we have become good friends, never dreaming that something like this would ever happen.
Harold made arrangements with Norm to meet at Gottschalk in Carson City at 2:45 p.m. on Nov. 1, at which time Shayla returned Norm’s wallet to him.
At that memorable meeting, there was Harold, Harold’s wife Barbara, Shayla, Shayla’s mom Renee, Norm and I.
Chad Lundquist, a photographer with the Nevada Appeal, was also there and took a photo of Shayla returning the wallet to a very happy Norm.
There were big smiles everywhere, that afternoon.
In addition, Shayla politely declined a very generous cash reward from a very grateful Norm, for returning that wallet.
A real class act, and a happy ending for some happy people.
So, the moral of this particular story is, “Yes, Virginia, there really are some honest people left in the world.” And, two of them are named Harold Curti and his grand daughter Shayla Miller.
• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can’t tell you if I have ever found a wallet.
If he grins and says, “Yes, Don found a California woman’s wallet earlier this summer on the sidewalk at the Carson Mall and turned it into the Sheriff’s Office,” he could have been one of the many people who I told about it.
• Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal.