This is a different kind of adventure, but it still involves food and a good story, I promise, so bear with me.
It's Saturday night and we've lived in Tahoe for less than a year. My husband and I decided to have dinner at a new-to-us pizza restaurant called Base Camp Pizza, which is located in the village at Heavenly, a ski resort in South Lake Tahoe. They do not take reservations, and when we arrived, the place was absolutely hopping, inside and out, with hundreds of people.
There was a sign on the door that said they weren't seating any more guests after 7:00PM due to the restaurant having been bought out for a private party. We looked at the time and continued toward the hostess station to inquire. She told us we were the last people to get on the dine-in list that night and she warned us that it might be up to an hour's wait for a table. We figured we'd driven all that way and we had nothing else going on, so we added our name to the list and hung out by the outdoor gas heaters for a while, watching all the skiers and boarders walking by. It was the middle of January, so it was chilly outside, but we were dressed for it. Once the area near the front entrance of the restaurant cleared out, we moved a little closer in hopes we'd have a better chance of hearing our name called when the time came.
We were now standing near the small stage adjacent to the main entrance of the restaurant and I happened to look down. There, in the shadows, I saw what looked like a money clip lying on the ground. It was dark outside and the ground there was poorly lit, so I couldn't be sure. I pointed it out to my husband and asked him to pick it up. Sure enough, it was a very unique silver dollar money clip surrounding several hundred dollars in cash and a Harvey's hotel key.
At first, we kind of stared at it, inspecting it. We did a very quick count of the cash and know it contained at least $800. This was a big deal for someone to misplace.
Wide-eyed, I looked at my husband and we agreed, given the amount of cash there, the best thing was to find a manager and turn it in to him/her directly. So my husband walked inside the restaurant, located the manager, and handed him the money clip. His name was Zach and he offered to buy my husband a drink in return for his good deed. My husband thanked him but declined the offer and explained that he and his wife would be having dinner inside soon. In that case, Zach insisted that our first round of drinks would be on the house.
My husband rejoined me outside and after about 45 minutes had passed since adding our name to the list, it was announced our table was ready and the hostess led the way inside. Being the last patrons seated that night, the restaurant was now mostly empty. We squeezed into our table-for-two in front of the long window that opens to the kitchen and quickly perused the menu. Before we knew it, our waitress, Allison, appeared and took our orders. A few minutes later, she sent Zach over to our table. He thanked us, once again, for our kind deed and assured us our drink order was on him. We smiled and thanked him and he walked away.
Our food arrived quickly and it soon became very clear to me that I, without a doubt, had found the best pizza I've ever had. We knew we'd be back.
As we were wrapping up our meal, yet another man stopped by our table. We learned he was Ted, managing partner of Base Camp Pizza and a few other restaurants in Tahoe. Ted asked us how our food was, etc., and then he thanked us for our good deed, as well. At this point, with all of these visitors to our table, we were beginning to feel like undeserving celebrities.
Ted continued making his rounds to the few remaining patrons' tables before returning to our table, once again, when he told us that tonight's meal was on the house. What's more, he also laid a $100 Base Camp Pizza gift card on our table. We were both shocked. In pure disbelief. What was happening. Seriously.
And as if all of that attention wasn't enough, a few minutes later, yet another person approached our table. This time, a modestly dressed, middle-aged Hispanic man. He asked us if we were the ones who had turned in the money clip.
We nodded in tandem.
His eyes got misty and he took pause before he explained to us that the money clip was his.
He thanked us profusely and genuinely and patted each of us on the back. And then he, too, offered to pay for our dinner. We thanked him and told him not to worry, because it had already been taken care of.
He then shared with us that his son was getting married the next day, and tonight, he'd discovered that he'd lost his money clip. I can't imagine the panic he endured when he noticed all of his cash was missing before a day as big as his son's wedding.
At that moment, like it was scripted, Zach comes over to our table and almost ceremoniously hands the man his money clip, right before our eyes.
It was magical.
After all that had just unfolded in this short time tonight, I looked at Jason, still in disbelief, and said, "I am so happy right now."
I suppose it's pretty common for people to lose things. It's also pretty common for people to never find them again. Tonight, a man lost and we found and we even got to meet him and share in his joy when what he lost was returned to him.
It was no coincidence that we were "the last people to get on the list" that night. The money clip was meant to be found by us because God knew that we would help find its rightful owner.
The staff at Base Camp Pizza went the extra mile to not only make us feel special and rewarded, but most importantly, for helping to return the money clip to this man who will be celebrating his son's marriage tomorrow. And here's hoping this is the worst thing that he experiences this weekend.