Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.

Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.
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Monday, June 24, 2013

                                                      The Black Day-Planner

I knew when I placed my black day planner on the roof of my car that I shouldn't have done so but my hands were full and I wanted to get the groceries that needed to go into the cooler,put away. I said to myself, don't forget the planner! Of course, that reminder quickly went out of my thought as I walked around to the other side of the car,opened the door,got in and drove out of the parking lot. And,that's when things spiraled down to an eventual garbage picking episode!

About one hour later, I couldn't find my day planner. Where could it be? I use the thick black planner to not only record appointments but list all the things I hope to do throughout the day.And, yes, I admit, I love to cross out things that I’ve accomplished. I also admit that on occasion, I have been known to write something down after I have done it, just so I could cross it out on my to-do list! The back of the day planner is also stuffed with lots and lots of coupons, including my cherished 30% coupon for Kohls and my 10 dollar birthday coupon which I had intended to use that week,blood work orders and the paperwork for my next mammo. There was also a medical proxy and on the back page, a listing of all important telephone numbers. With just one week to go before its time had passed being useful, you may wonder why I was so upset about its being missing. In addition to telephone numbers, there was another set of numbers... I had written my husband’s and my social security numbers in the back of my planner! Why do something so foolish? Because, I rationalized, I read you should never keep your social security card in your wallet and I have a mental block about the arrangement of my social security numbers! I needed to write the numbers somewhere! Doesn't make a whole lot of sense,does it?

Anyway,my husband,after learning of the social security numbers written in my planner, helped in the search. We drove back to the grocery store when I had been. No planner in the parking lot. I went into the store and all the others in the strip mall and asked if anyone had turned in my planner. No luck. Then, I spotted a Bed, Bath and Beyond coupon across the street lying in the grass. I was getting warmer. The planner was in the area. I gathered up four of the Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons, all expired but someone said that the expiration date doesn’t matter so I’ve kept them. I then spotted some other coupons but sadly not the 30% or the $10 Birthday coupon. Gathering them all up, my husband and I continued to search for my planner. Again, not to be found. That’s when I decided it was time to get up close and personal with the store’s trash can. Maybe, someone ran over it and threw it into the garbage can. Getting some rubber gloves from a store clerk, I proceeded to search the garbage for my missing black planner.Did you know people toss photographs? Found a bunch of them. I also found a jewelry box and of, course,the usual trash- discarded milkshake cup from McDonalds,a Diet Coke bottle,an empty cigarette pack and more. But, my planner. Nope, it wasn’t there.

Leaving for home, I contacted the banks, investment companies and anyone else I thought should be alerted that my social security number and that of my husband’s may have been compromised. I was also disappointed that no one had turned the old planner in to one of the stores.

The next morning, the telephone rang at 7:15 AM. As an early riser, most of our friends know this but even this hour was just a tad early. A woman’s voice asked, “Is this Miss Gail?”  I responded quizzically, “Yes.”  She went on to say that she was the owner of a store near where I had lost my planner. Could it be, I wondered, that she’d found my planner?
The woman went on to say that she usually takes the bus to work but on that particular morning, she’d had a desire for some mints and being it was early, asked the bus driver if he’d let her off at a convenience store along the bus route. He agreed even though it wasn’t an official bus stop. She then walked the rest of the way to her shop. About two blocks from the store, she found a black planner resting peacefully by a yellow fire hydrant. Nicole said she remembered a woman coming in looking for a black planner and thought this might be the one.

I said that I’d drive right in to get the now found planner, stopping on route to get the woman a dozen roses as a thank you. We hugged each other as she went to retrieve the battered black planner. It was the start of a wonderful day.

I learned my lesson...better to “forget” the numbers of my social security card than to write them in my new blue planner that starts on July 1st. I also learned that through a series of unlikely events, the old black planner had been found by a caring person that realized how much it meant to me to get it back.

What to do if you lose your social security card:

Don’t panic, most banking institutions and investment companies require a password and other questions to get into your accounts.

Contact your credit card companies and tell them there is a possibility of the numbers getting into the wrong hands.

Fill out a Fraud alert with one of the credit companies:
Equifax - 1-800-525-6285
Trans Union - 1-800-680-7289
Experian - 1-888-397-3742 
Monitor your credit report for a couple of months.

Contact the Social Security Office to report the information may have been compromised.

Contact the Federal Trade Commission: 1-877-438-4338 to file a formal complaint or

Contact the local police department.

*Contact the Internal Revenue Service Identity Protection Unit(1-800-908-4490)

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