Solutions For Impossible Things: Let Nothing Stand In Your Way

Solutions to impossible things

I am a super optimist. I believe there are solutions for impossible things. Whenever there is a seemingly insurmountable challenge, I like to find a way.

Whenever I sprain my ankle, the first thing I think is: thank goodness I didn't break my ankle. Whenever I lose a bidding war on a house I want, I think to myself: there will always be another one. Whenever someone says something terrible about me online, I think to myself: at least someone is reading.

Perhaps perpetual failure is the reason why I'm so optimistic. Without optimism, I'd probably end up a complete failure after getting into so much trouble in grade school.

There will come a point in your life where you'll face a difficult situation that feels impossible to solve. Instead of giving up, I encourage you to think things through. The better your problem solving skills, the more coveted you will be as an employee and the more successful you'll be as an entrepreneur. You'll also gain more confidence, which should lead to a happier life.

Let me share with you three unrelated examples of problems that were solved with some good old fashion brainstorming. If these examples don't get you pumped, I don't know what will. 

Solutions For Impossible Things

Here are some examples of solutions for impossible things.

Problem #1: Low household water pressure

Who doesn't love strong water pressure at home? It feels very satisfying to be able to spray gunk off your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.

Unfortunately, my home's water pressure isn't very strong. To conserve water, the SF Water Utility Commission purposefully throttles water pressure around the city. That's fine, since we were in a drought. Even after changing my main water pipe from 3/4 inch to 1 inch in diameter when I built my master bathroom, the water pressure still remained mediocre.

I called the utility company to see if they could turn up the pressure and they laughed in my face. Then I had a lightbulb moment. Because I have rain showers in my master bathroom, the water pressure feels stronger than my normal shower head upstairs protruding from the side wall. Gravity gave my downstairs shower an extra oomph.

I didn't install a rain shower head to experience more water pressure. I just thought it would be nice to feel like I was taking a shower under a waterfall every time I stepped inside. And of course, for the sake of fun and equality, I installed a second rain shower and a hand shower.

Double rain shower - Solutions For Impossible Things
Party time in the shower

The Kitchen Faucet

When I remodeled my kitchen, I told my friend to pick up any nice looking stainless steel faucet he could find. I was already in charge of picking out the tiles, countertops, cabinets, fixtures, dishwasher, range, microwave, and floors. I wasn't too concerned about the faucet.

My friend ended up getting a stainless steel “look” faucet that was really made of plastic. It had an unpleasant cheap sound whenever you'd tap it with your fingernails. The handle wiggled while turning it off and on. Finally, the water pressure was annoyingly low. It was a piece of crap.

Solutions For Impossible Things
Original cheap kitchen faucet

Switched Faucets

After three years of kitchen use, I've come to realize the kitchen faucet is a focal point that can either delight or disappoint the user. Every time I used my wiggly plastic kitchen faucet it bummed me out. So I decided to go shopping.

One faucet caught my eye, a 15″ tall Hansgrohe Talis C faucet with a large pull out nozzle and a beautiful stainless steel finish. I had seen similar types of faucets in nicely remodeled homes, and knew this was the one. I also hypothesized that the height and curve of the faucet would help increase the water pressure.

New 15″ kitchen faucet by Hansgrohe

The Hansgrohe faucet cost $450 compared to my original Moen faucet for just $150. But I didn't care. I bought two! One for me, and one for my rental house, which I'm considering selling to simplify. It was just too embarrassing to have a cheap faucet in a rental that commands $8,000+/month. Realtors always pointed out the need to change the faucet when they walked through.

Not only do I now have two fantastic looking kitchen faucets, the water pressure in both my home and my rental are now at least 30% stronger thanks to the long curved neck. The 15″ height helps create a build up of pressure until the water gets forced down. And more likely, it's the valve cartridge inside that's making the pressure better. Every time I go to spray down the dirty dishes or wash my hands, I feel ecstatic!

The Cheaper Fix

If you don't want to change your faucet completely like I did, check to see if there are small pieces of sediment or some other debris that has clogged a passageway within the valve cartridge. Also check the tiny orifices within the aerator and or a flow restrictor.

Debris will build up after a while. In my case, the faucet was only three years old, cheap, and the valve cartridge was too small to provide good water pressure. Changing the cartridge wouldn't have done me any good. Talk to your faucet retailer and see if a new faucet might just do the trick! Ah, solutions for impossible things.

cheap rental faucet
Cheap rental faucet in my kitchen b/c my tenants chose it after the old one broke
Nice kitchen faucet
Sweet new faucet after that is more appropriate with the cost of the house

2. Getting an athletic scholarship as an un-athletic person.

One of the best ways to get into a prestigious university is to be a great athlete. After spending the season coaching high school tennis and getting to know the athletic director very well, I've learned how big of a boost a kid can get with his or her athletic potential.

Most high school athletes won't get a scholarship to play for a Division I school. But some athletes can increase their chances of getting into a great Division III school like Amherst with the help of sports.

Colleges like Amherst and Williams have 14% or lower acceptance rates, but are considered academically on par with the top universities in the country. Given 99% of college athletes do not become pro athletes, the real emphasis is on getting into the best school possible to give yourself as many career choices as possible.

Overcoming Physical Limitations

Because I'm of average height (5'10”) and my wife is of below average height (<5'5″), we're likely not going to be producing any Shaquille O'Neals or Maria Sharapovas any time soon. You can definitely succeed in athletics being shorter when being taller is a benefit like Isaiah Thomas from the Celtics (5'9″ all-star) and Kei Nishikori (5'10”, top 5 tennis player). It's just harder, all things being equal.

I got to talking to 26 year old female named Lisa one day about the benefits of public versus private high school. She went to a public high school and ended up at Stanford with a lot of grants that made attending cheaper than attending a public university.

She didn't feel the public high school held her back, especially since she was the valedictorian. But she did say her rowing definitely helped her get in. Her high school won the state rowing championships back-to-back.

Lisa is around 5'7″ and I could tell she definitely was strong. She told me something interesting. Her Stanford crew team only had three scholarships. Despite being one of the best rowers, she wasn't one of the recipients. But the coxswain was!

A Cal Berkeley coxswain. Go Bears!

Finding A Way To Use Your Body To Your Advantage

For those who don't know, the coxswain is the person who navigates, motivates, and strategizes the rowers to victory. No rowing is required. As a coxswain, the lighter and smaller you are, the less weight your crew has to row!

So for those of you who aren't super tall or physically gifted, don't worry. To take advantage of your small stature, you could be a coxswain or a fencer or a gymnast. There are a number of sports where being small is a great advantage.

If you're a 5'1″, 100 lbs female, you could very well be the most sought after coxswain on the planet if you just practice. Note: regatta rules require coxswain to meet minimum weights.  If they don't, the difference is made up in sandbags. More solutions for impossible things.

Athletic height comparison olympmics
Not 6'8″ and only 4'8″? No worries.

3. Returning a lost wallet to an international visitor.

On May 17th I went for a nice afternoon walk in the SF Botanical Gardens. As a nature lover, it's one of my favorite free things to do as an early retiree. Some of my most popular posts have come after long walks in the park. Thismy favorite solutions for impossible things examples.

As I was leaving the park, I noticed a brown Pierre Cardin wallet on the ground. Inside the wallet was a guy's B1/B2 Border Crossing Card, a United baggage check claim from LAX, and $213. Holy crap! Without his Card, Martin wouldn't be allowed back into Mexico!

I was panicking for Martin because it was 6:45pm and the park attendees had already left at 6pm (last entry is 6pm and you can leave whenever you want). I stayed back for 30 minutes, hoping he'd return, but he didn't. Since I had ordered some takeout food 45 minutes earlier, I needed to pick up the food and also drop off my friend, who had a dinner appointment.

What to do?! Think. Think. Think. Losing your wallet is the worst. Got it!

I pulled out a business card from my car's center console, wrote a message for Martin to contact me if he found it, placed the card near where I found his wallet, and put a nickel on it so my card wouldn't fly away.

I drove about 10 feet, stopped the car, and got back out because I feared my card would be blown away by the wind. It's kind of like when you leave the house and go back because you fear you may have left the stove on. I replaced the nickel with a heavy rock.

Between the benches I placed my card with a rock

I picked up my food, dropped off my friend who was already late for dinner, and began to eat my yummy soy sauce fried chicken wings from Manna restaurant. I couldn't stop thinking about how to get Martin's wallet back to him so I sent out a tweet, hoping maybe the internet gods would connect us. I also sent an e-mail to the one vendor's business card in his wallet.

Sending out a shot in the dark over Twitter

Reaching Out For Help

After eating another two chicken wings, I decided to call 311 (information) and ask what I should do. They suggested I drop off Martin's wallet at the closest police station. If Martin went to any police station, he'd be able to locate his wallet because the report would be in the system.

Sadly, the first thing I thought about when the operator told me to go to the police was not to go to the police.

I kept thinking I'd encounter some young, racist, power-tripping police officer who'd just take all of Martin's cash and throw his ID in the dumpster because he was from Mexico.

Then I had images of ICE officers busting into people's homes and dragging away in handcuffs illegal immigrant children.

The media had completely warping my judgement of the people who are supposed to protect and serve.

Before driving to the police station, I saw in my Twitter feed a random person called @Chukunu saying he was Martin! Could it be true? It had only been an hour since I found his wallet. Was some random guy screwing with me so he could beat me up and steal Martin's wallet? Hmm. Not if this kung fu blogger has anything to say about it!

Martins Lost Wallet Tweet Response

Thankfully, @chukunu was Martin. He shot me an e-mail in addition to his Twitter response, and I told him I'd be over in 15 minutes.

Found Him Patiently Waiting

When I pulled up, he and his buddy were sitting on the bench waiting. I wasn't entirely sure it was him through my tinted windows, but I could see his glee when he leaped off the bench.

It turns out Martin had dropped his wallet while waiting for an Uber with his friend. It was only after he'd gotten across town to the Mission District 25 minutes away when he realized it was missing.

They took an Uber all the way back, noticed my card under the rock, and immediately sent an e-mail and checked Twitter. HOORAY!

We hugged it out and I asked him about his adventures so far.

He said this was his first visit to San Francisco and thanked me profusely. He said he was so lucky because somebody else could have taken his wallet and ran.

His joy was my joy. I had been on a mission to get back his wallet no matter what so he could safely return to LAX and then Mexico City. I would. He confirmed that without his Border Crossing ID, it would be impossible to return home.

I also contacted United Airlines and was going to speak to the Parks & Recreation department first thing the next morning. Worst case, I was hoping Martin would get to SF International Airport, United would tell him to contact me, I'd come meet him, and away he'd go.

Is this not the happiest person you've seen in your life?! Maybe US / Mexico relations will flourish after all.

One happy guy after finding his wallet

There's Always A Solution For Impossible Things

If there is a problem, be determined to find a solution. Don't just give up. Never give up! Yes, we'll have some Dunning-Kruger moments where we don't realize our delusions until we're deep in a hole. But if you develop a solution-oriented mindset, you'll naturally start making a positive difference in your life and in the lives of others.

Here are some other examples of problems many people don't believe are solvable, which I've addressed:

Negotiating a severance package from a job you dislike.

* Saving over $100,000 a year pre-tax in your retirement accounts.

* Retiring early and never having to work again.

The list goes on and on because I'm focused on solving some of our most vexing problems. Always remember there are solutions for impossible things.

I hope these three examples give you some motivation to keep on going through difficult times. It often seems like the world is conspiring against us. Just know that with a little bit of grit and creativity, you'll have a better chance of living your best life.

Create An Abundance Mindset To Grow Your Wealth

Hawaiian Hustle: Sometimes Life Is About Coconuts

Change Your Perspective To Increase Your Happiness

Readers, please share with me some examples of solutions for impossible things that you overcame with creativity and hustle.

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53 thoughts on “Solutions For Impossible Things: Let Nothing Stand In Your Way”

  1. That is a really uplifting story. Having the time to notice these things and the desire to help is pretty stellar.

  2. This is why you are my favorite blogger. It’s never “how these circumstances created me” it’s “how do I take these circumstances and make them work to everyone’s advantage”. That is what it means to be human and what defines success. Either you create your own destiny or you destiny is created for you….and how boring is having your destiny created for you?

  3. Our kitchen faucet started to leak 2 months after we moved in and flooded the kitchen floor. We had no idea what had happened until after we dropped $200 on a plumber.

    We decided to buy a $250 faucet that has a 5-year warranty. Sometimes it’s just worth it to spend extra money on a good item that will last a long time and prevent costly problems.

  4. Adriana @MoneyJourney

    Returning the wallet was a very nice gesture from your part!

    I’ve had a similar experience when going for an evening walk with my other half. We found a cell phone on the ground and wanted to return it. Since we had no idea how to unlock it to call someone from the agenda, we went to the police.

    Sadly…. the police didn’t give a rats ass about the person missing their phone. How disappointing!

    We did return the phone in the end, but it wasn’t thanks to the authorities.

    1. I lost my iphone 2 weekends ago and couldnt find it despite having Find My iphone app turned on.

      Someone took it and turned the phone off

  5. Your optimism is the best asset you have. I am the optimist, but in some cases I lose it, but I immediately try regaining it. But you are the real inspiration for me to show how can a person be optimistic in all cases, even in small things.

  6. I have found that every break that I thought was unlucky at first? Best things that ever happened to me. Divorce? Better wife. Job sucks? New one in Alaska. At your low point – that’s where things all start looking up.

  7. FIRECracker

    Wow! I love the lost wallet story. The world needs more kind, thoughtful people like you.

    Also, how cool is it that you can speak in Spanish! We spent some time in Mexico and have just started learning Spanish. Surprisingly easy to learn and very practical language (unlike English which has so many silent letters, I love how Spanish reads exactly as it’s spelt).

    Kudos to you for reuniting Martin with his wallet and proving that there are good people in this world! Bien hecho!

  8. Great Story Martin! One time I lost my wallet and was lucky enough to have someone find it. Unfortunately, when he returned it, all of my cash was gone. I don’t think he stole it since he was so kind to return my wallet and I was super excited to not have to cancel all of my cards and deal with getting new ones. Thanks for sharing!

  9. So THAT is why I didn’t get into Amherst – no sports in high school! I did JV bowling and had the crummy luck to go to a school that annihilated every other school in bowling – at any other school everyone on our JV team would have made varsity. (Beyond bowling, my school was devoid of athleticism, and so was I.)

    I thought I had learned a hack from my older cousin – he is unathletic but lettered in fencing – but I wasn’t good enough.

  10. I wish there were more people like you that would go through all the due diligence to make sure the wallet reaches its rightful owner. I’m sure you and Martin will remember the moment of joy for many many years. These are the types of things money CAN’T buy. It’s inspiration for me to pay it forward by helping someone….

  11. High Income Parents

    Thanks for being an awesome US American ambassador. He was fortunate to have you find it. Never would have thought to post on twitter.
    What do you think he searched to find your post?

  12. What a great story about the wallet and great job on getting it back to Martin! You’re right…losing your wallet sucks, but losing your border crossing card (especially in today’s climate) would be many times worse.

  13. I know optimism is not my strong suit but i’m getting better. Maybe its the FIRE community and their great outlook on life. :)
    and lots of spreadsheets to prove things are going to be awesome ;)

  14. Great timing on this one. I woke up this morning feeling hopeless and trapped but I’m inspired to give it another go!

  15. Your First Million

    Very awesome story about the wallet! It all comes down to treating other people as you would want to be treated. Imagine how it would feel to have someone return your wallet like that… it would absolutely make your day. Very cool!

  16. Save Splurge Deny Debt - Cameron

    I followed the wallet story on Twitter and I was really shocked. The power of the internet and good people helping others was insane. It was awesome to see how quickly that worked. That guy will be telling that story for a long time and I am sure you will get some new readers!

    Good motivation post. The faucets look really really nice by the way. Who cares what anyone else says more water pressure is awesome and call it gravity or whatever else, it just feels good.

  17. Sam-You are so right- Never give up! I learnt this 7 years ago and life has become much better. Admire the help you expended on the wallet. You are a good man!

  18. RetireOnDividends

    On optimism, I always like Peter Lynch’s (the great fund manager) quote where he says that “being pessimistic makes you sound smart but being optimistic makes you money.”

  19. It’s great you do something bout your sink and athletics. Even CEO’s create an electric department, a review team, an autonomous East Coast team, and a new silicon valley department but is fired by the board today. Because all these huge teams have been in place for a few years with no results. A lot of talk and hype from the Ford CEO but no followup action. So great for you for doing something instead of only talking.

  20. That wallet story is great. I think people underestimate how generous most people really are, especially when they have time. Morality is usually situation and context-dependent.

    Think if, instead of being an early retiree going on a stroll in the park, you were a young, tired businessman in loads of debt. You might have still returned the wallet, but I’d be willing to wager that you also might take some money out and say you found it like that.

    It reminds me of Darley and Batson’s “Good Samaritan Study” from the Princeton Theological Seminary. Previous studies had failed to find a link between personality traits and good deeds. Darley and Batson wanted to see whether or not religiosity was a significant variable, so they literally copied the exact same scenario from the parable of the Good Samaritan, where a priest and a Levite pass by a man who had recently gotten jumped.

    They had members of the Princeton Theological Seminary fill out a questionnaire to test their personality, then they told them to walk to another building to give a talk on either vocations or — no joke — the parable of the Good Samaritan. They told some people to hurry and told others to take their time (or didn’t mention anything about time at all). On their way to the building to give the talk, they would see a man hunched over in an alleyway, in clear need of assistance.

    Turned out the only significant variable was “hurriedness.” Only 10% of people who were urged to hurry quickly actually stopped to help the man. Personality traits — and whether or not they talked about the value of being a “Good Samaritan” — weren’t important.

    That’s right. Your lackadaisical life as an early retiree is probably making the world a better place.

    1. The Professor

      I disagree. It depends on your values and how one is raised. I also found another wallet when I was around 14-15. It would have been easy to keep the money in it ( a considerable amount for that time). There was no hesitation. I got it back to the owner. Turned out to be an elderly woman (when you’re 15 probably everyone looks elderly) and get monthly grocery money.
      Honesty is not something that is dependent in your own current financial condition.

      1. PhilanthroCapitalist

        That’s great!

        And I’m not here to argue. “Morality” itself is obviously a complicated, broad concept that should be approached with more care — if that’s what you’re disagreeing with. In this case, I should have said, “The likelihood that a person helps a stranger in need is usually context and situation-dependent, among other factors.”

        I’m not about to say that upbringing doesn’t have a massive effect on moral decision-making, especially pro-social behavior, but when it comes to how people react to those in immediate need, like the confederate in the “Good Samaritan study,” a person’s individual circumstance determines their course of action more than any other factor. Keep in mind that this has been replicated time and time again in the literature on social psychology.

        On page 282 of Professor Roy Baumeister’s Social Psychology and Human Nature, he writes, “People aren’t cold and uncaring when it comes to helping others. They are just uncertain about what to do . . . Once people understand the situational factors [pluralistic ignorance, diffusion of responsibility, lack of competence, audience inhibition, etc] that interfere with helping in emergency situations, they should be more likely to help.” This was proven through Beamans’, Barnes’, and Klentz’ “Increasing helping rates through information dissemination: Teaching pays.”


        My example also did a bad job of getting my point across. If, instead, the owner of the wallet was a rich gangster and the person who found it was a single mother of three starving children, would it still be wrong to take money out? Is dishonesty always immoral (or, in this case, unethical)?

        Furthermore, there actually is quite a bit of evidence suggesting that honesty correlates fairly strongly with your financial condition, except the traditional wisdom is reversed (the poor tend to be more generous than the rich; or those with more exposure to money tend to be more dishonest). Proportionally, poor people donate 2.5x more of their income to charity than the rich, despite the fact that they can’t make use of the charitable tax deduction because they don’t itemize deductions on their tax returns. Paul Piff, a psychologist from UC Berkeley, shows other startling differences with a lot of his research. Here’s an interesting article that touches on it:

        And mere exposure to money tends to encourage unethical behavior, as seen in Harvard’s series of studies, “Seeing Green,” which is in line with my first example.


        Obviously, yes, upbringing is significant. Through decades of research, though, social psychologists have found a way to make altruistic behavior more likely, no matter how you were raised. I don’t think we should ignore those situational factors, because learning about their influence could literally save lives.

  21. This is something I am actively trying to get better at. Not necessarily thinking a problem is impossible but just getting frustrated too quickly and letting that frustration affect my ability to solve it.

    Just finished installing a laminate floor in my house yesterday – my first flooring venture. I definitely dealt with frustrations, but it all came around and is now done!

  22. The Professor

    Ok, You’re going to find this bizarre but an hour after reading your post I was out on a 8 mile run. Towards the end of the run I saw a square box off on the side towards the gutter. Thinking at first it was a discarded cigarette box I continued. Then I thought it was also the size of a wallet. (Maybe from reading this post). I looped back and lo and behold it was a wallet. I’m now on a mission to return it. It doesn’t have a lot of money but driver’s license, credit cards, etc..I’ll update later.

    1. The Professor

      Update on the wallet I found yesterday morning. I was contacted back through FB and he was from out of town but staying a short walk away. We met up around 10pm and I got his wallet back to him. He had his ID and credit cards and needed that ID especially for an upcoming return plane flight. Like Martin, this guy was so happy to get it back. Made my day to see him that happy also.

  23. Wow! Those are all such amazing true stories. Love it. I remember at the last Olympics one of the big media publications had pictures of athletes across the entire slectrum of events. It was fascinating to see so many different body types – tall, short, super lean, mega buff and even what looked like overweight.

    Love your determination to get Martin his wallet back too. That’s awesome!

  24. I got goosebumps reading how happy Martin was. I’ve been really unlucky on the other side of this, so I’m super pumped for Martin. Way to be Sam! It amazes me what people will take. The latest episode was this weekend, when someone took bottles of shampoo and conditioner that our 8 year old daughter left in the shower after swimming at the YMCA. Yeah, it was nice product, but wow…seriously?!?!

  25. Very cool! Sometimes just putting in that little extra effort (like with finding the owner of the lost wallet) can make all the difference between someone having days of frustration, vs. “only” a few hours of mild panic. :)

    There’s no real way to track earnings or ROI for karma points, but pretty sure you just had a bunch of them deposited into your account for doing that.

  26. Great job with Martin. I saw your twitter feed and I wasn’t optimistic. I shouldn’t have doubted you.
    The faucet on the other hand is placebo effect. There is no way gravity would make that kid of difference. The internal must have bigger diameter or something.
    We live in a high rise and our water pressure is really good. I think we have a pump on the roof or something like that. Not really sure. Gravity would make a difference in that case. Maybe you can work with an physicist to figure out the real answer.

    1. Don’t shatter my dreams of stronger water pressure Joe! lol.

      I’ve had a number of comments saying it’s the valve cartridge and stuff, so I’ve updated the post. Either way, glad I ponied up and ordered this faucet b/c both my wife and I sometimes have to adjust down the pressure when spraying dishes now. I believe!

      1. The Tepid Tamale

        To enter the water pressure discussion: When I installed aerators that limit flow (adjustable in the kitchen), it suddenly seemed like I had more water and better pressure when rinsing off dishes, washing hands, etc. However, when you put a glass under the faucet, it would take forever to fill up! So, saving water, while gaining usability, perfect! Here’s the link (sorry, it’s so long, but I hate it when people talk about something, but don’t give you the specifics:

  27. I can tell you a reverse story where I found the keys to someones Kia when I was on vacation in another country and hanging out in a city park I brought keys to a local dealership about a mile away thinking that perhaps there was a way for them to figure out the car it belonged to.

    Imagine my surprise when instead of thanking me I was shot weird looks as they questioned why someone would do this? Ah well….I feel like one of those demotivational posters :)

  28. My wife had a similar situation when we were in China last year. She dropped her wallet in an alley on the way to dinner. We were searching for it for over an hour, but could not find it. Even reported it to the local police. Fortunately, a nice family picked it up and called us the next day (she had a slip of a paper in there to remind her of our local mobile number) and drove over an hour to give it to us. They wouldn’t even take any reward for their trouble.

  29. Awwww-you are so nice!! I had an experience once when a police officer knocked on my door early in the morning-and was returning my sons wallet that had been found in a downtown parking lot!!! He was still sleeping after a night out(on college break) and didn’t even know he had lost it!!

    Someone had turned it in at the police station-and the officer brought it to the address on the drivers license…great to hear that there are ethical, kind people in the world!

  30. Mr. Freaky Frugal

    Love the wallet story. You’re a good guy – most people wouldn’t put in the effort you did.

    I’ve always liked your optimistic, can-do, bonsai, attitude. I’ve read some books on Positive Psychology and there is pretty strong evidence that optimism is healthier both mentally and physically.

    I’m less optimistic than you, but I do try to find some small positive from a negative event. It doesn’t always work for me, but I’m happy when it does.

  31. Jack Catchem

    Take the cash and dump the wallet? Please. Any cop who would do that is not going to be employed long on the west coast. California policing is held to a high standard! Few and fired are the cops who sacrifice a million dollar career for $200 in a wallet.

    Also, San Francisco is proudly a Sanctuary City! Fear not for the immigrants next door. I’ve actually been on some operations with Immigration and it was very interesting. We want to different locations of violent criminals on probation/parole and conducted checks. A few of them already had deportation orders, so unless we found a new crime during the check, away they went. Children? No. Predators? Yes!

    Baseline: great job returning the wallet to the owner! People rarely check with the police and lots of stuff languishes in our property rooms, sad, alone and secure. Don’t let your wallet get lost and lonely, toss a cell phone number inside today, people!!

    1. It’s sad I had those thoughts in my mind briefly before deciding to drive to the nearest police station and file a report. From chicken wing to driving back out all happened in under 10 minutes.

      I was recently power tripped by a couple young cops in the park this month. Then I had this other cop bang on my door and told me to show them my ID while I was standing in my house b/c the house alarm trip wasn’t turned off quickly enough.

      I understand it must be stressful being a cop and it’s best to take precaution. I just wish some cops treated law abiding citizens more normally.

      1. Jack Catchem

        On the up side, your Stealth Wealth technique is working if you got hit up for ID at a burglary alarm! (It always helps to check. Sooooo embarrassing to catch a burglar but leave him in the house because the bad guy says he lives there).

        I am fascinated though, what happened in the park?

  32. I’m a parent of a kiddo that will be a student athlete at UCSD. Not sure it would of happened without athletics. Still wondering about the overall cost and time commitment versus the JC/local state school route, but it was definitely earned through a lot of hard work.

  33. Smart Provisions

    Very heartwarming story with Martin! Kudos to you, Sam!

    It’s awesome that you have business cards with your site on it, how often do you hand those out?

  34. You’re a modern day Abe Lincoln. It is a funny dynamic – once you get a little invested in trying to help someone out, it’s easy to get REALLY invested. Empathy for the dire situation he would be in without the wallet saved the day. Nice work.

  35. You are one persistent person to go so far to return a wallet! I’ll keep this story in mind next time I see something valuable that someone has lost and leave a note detailing that I found it and how to contact me to get it back.

    I’ve actually been on the receiving end of this kind of kindness many times during my undergraduate study at UCSD. I would forget my skateboard in a dining hall every quarter or so and someone would find my skateboard and put it into the lost & found. I’m really glad that nobody decided to steal my skateboard or else I would have been late to class.

  36. Great inspiration. I agree that being positive is important. I am myself mostly positive, but for some people it’s harder to do. My personal issues is mostly dealing with my perceived scarcity.

  37. I once dropped my resident card at airport security in a foreign country. I didn’t even realize that I had lost it. I was sitting by my gate, and this security agent walks up to me and asks if I am ‘Mrs. BITA’. I say yes, and he hands me my card. I sat there shaking like a leaf for a bit after, trying not to imagine being deported when I landed in the U.S. and was unable to whip out my resident card. Martin and I both goth very lucky.

  38. Duncan's Dividend

    Awesome story about Martin, it’s always nice when those honest few among us go out of their way to get things back to those that lost them. Kudos to you for going above and beyond and having the platform to do so. Thank you for sharing the story!

  39. That’s an awesome story about Martin!!! That must have been the worst feeling. I know when I’ve misplaced my wallet I have a mild panic attack, I can’t imagine losing my wallet in a foreign location and needing it to get back into the country.

    If I were Martin I would have taken you out for drinks and celebrate!!!

  40. Little Monday motivation. I like it.

    Rarely is a problem impossible. That word gets used too much. It is amazing what you can do if just refuse to give up and keep taking one more step. Henry Ford was told by the smartest minds of the time that building a V8 engine out of one cast block was impossible. However, Ford persisted for years until he had what he wanted. The impossible engine.

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