A woman who thought her wallet was stolen eight years ago was stunned to get it back from the Boston Police this week — with her credit cards, social security card and $141 in cash still inside.
And in an incredible stroke of fortune, Courtney Connolly, a 30-year-old nursing student, told InsideEdition.com she desperately needed that $140 to pay for a spot in an important fitness competition this summer, and she had just three weeks to come up with the cash.
Now she wants to thank the good Samaritans who made it possible by handing over her wallet.
"There are still honest people in the world," she said. "People who go out of their way to make a difference."
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Connolly was working as a production intern at the Harbour Actors Theater in Wellfleet, Massachusetts when the wallet vanished on July 25, 2009. That morning, she went to move her car and found the contents of her glove box strewn across the passenger's seat. "I think my window had been down," she said.
Her wallet was gone, and with it, the money she'd just cashed from her pay check. As a student on a fixed intern income, the loss hit her hard.
"You work so hard for that little bit of money," she said. "I was so furious. That was my money for food for the week. That was my money for gas for the week."
She contacted police, who said they would be in touch if there was any activity on her credit cards, but that never happened. So after being forced to borrow money from family — "I'm sure I was a little ashamed" — and getting new copies of her credit cards and identification, she says she soon forgot about the missing wallet.
Until last Monday.
Her sister-in-law, who now lives with Connolly's brother in the house where they grew up, texted her to say someone had found her wallet and given it to a police officer in west Roxbury.
At first, Connolly didn't understand. "I told her I had my wallet in my hand," she said.
But her sister-in-law insisted: "She says, "But I'm looking at your license.'"
"Then something from the depths of my memory made me think about that old wallet," she said. "I was convinced it was just going to be the wallet. Never in my wildest dreams did I think all my cards would be in there."
When Connolly picked up the wallet and discovered the untouched cash inside, she was floored. Not least because the wallet was found 100 miles from where it was taken back in 2009.
She said she's since learned that someone contacted police on Monday and told them the wallet had been thrown from another car into his car's open window. He then handed over the wallet to a police officer, who contacted the address on a pay stub inside.
"It immediately came into my mind that I really need this money," she said.
Connolly said she needed the cash to pay for a powerlifting competition this summer. The sport, which her boyfriend helped introduce her to a year ago, helps her deal with anxiety and depression, which she suffers following an assault years ago, she said.
"I pick up the bar and my mind goes quiet," she said. "It's just completely peaceful. I definitely see a difference, mentally and physically."
With the deadline to the competition fast approaching, one of the organizers agreed to hold open a spot for Connolly, provided she could come up with the cash — around $140 — within a month, she said. That deadline was about three weeks away when she got the call from her sister-in-law.
With the money, she can now take part.
"It's going to cover the cost of the competition," she said. "I still can't believe it."
And she still can't believe the kindness of the good Samaritan and police officer.
"You did the right thing," she wants to tell them. "It would've been so easy to say you've found an empty wallet. There really are truly, genuinely good people in the world."