I’d met two mates at a busy Shepherds Bush pub for a rushed pint before the QPR-Barnsley game, and basically left my wallet on my chair, realising only when approaching the stadium almost a mile away.
With only minutes til kickoff, rather than leg it all the way back I quickly googled and rang the pub to ask with clenched hope if a kind soul had handed it in. The bar manager I spoke to went to check and returned a minute later with the inevitable shitty news: no, and it was nowhere to be seen at the pinpointed table and chairs.
As ever with a lost wallet it’s not so much the cash loss that grates most but the bank cards, driving licence and in my case a recently topped-up Oystercard and return rail ticket. So I wasn’t a happy chappy as I took my seat at kickoff, the usual matchday atmosphere lost on me. As I didn't want to wait til HT to cancel my card in case someone went to town on it I had a surreal mid-match conversation with a call-centre clerk from my seat as thousands bellowed and cursed around me.
QPR tried their best to worsen the afternoon, not the team but the usual supporters’ bar shambles which makes you queue from almost 10mins before HT until the 2nd half whistle for just a beer (why not pour them en masse before HT like at music festivals instead of individually per order when hundreds arrive at once?)
Thankfully the team won 2-0 – a defeat would’ve been the last straw. But the walletless cloud lingered and I was no longer up for the planned post-match session. On a whim I swung by the earlier pub before hitting the underground to ask if anyone had handed it in since – nope, sorry – so as a last throw I returned to our previous table for a final scan.
Unbelievably the wallet was there, exactly where I’d left it, camouflaged against the chair leather. The table occupants who’d been unwittingly sitting beside it for the previous two hours couldn’t believe it when I picked it up with incredulous laughter then summarised the story for them. The relief rush was tempered by slight anger though as I returned to the bar and waved it pointedly at the manager who’d supposedly had a search – it had been camouflaged to the incognisant drinker’s eye but would’ve revealed itself to anyone looking with purpose.
Anyway, with it retrieved and spirits instantly lifted I reinstated the evening's drinking plans with renewed gusto and was duly a mess by 10pm when I called it a night. The hangover though wasn’t half as painful as it could’ve been.
Moral: if you leave something in a pub, go back and look for it with your own eyes. Some people are fuckin' blind.