Update: Couple returns wallet to UofR international med student who calls it "a Christmas miracle"

Posted at: 01/01/2013 4:10 PM
Updated at: 01/02/2013 6:03 PM
By: Berkeley Brean

What a terrific reunion at the University of Rochester Medical School. The wallet (with $400 in it) that was found by a couple at the airport Christmas Eve was returned to its owner, an international medical student from Peru.

"Oh!" Luis Arellan said as he walked into the lobby of the medical school and saw Bud and Peggy Fischer with his wallet.

"So there it is," Bud said handing Luis the wallet wrapped with a card in Christmas ribbon

"Thanks a lot," Luis replied in his passable English. "It's a miracle. It's a Christmas miracle."

What a way to start his first time in the United States. Luis arrived in Rochester December 23rd for a three month stint at the UofR Medical School. Because his classes didn't begin until today, he returned to the airport on Christmas Eve to see about getting a ticket to New York City to visit relatives.

As he waited in one of the soft chairs near the ticket counter, Luis' wallet slipped from his pocket and dropped in between the cushion and the arm rest.

It stayed there for hours until Bud Fischer decided he would sit in the same chair as he waited for his granddaughter to arrive from Chicago on Christmas Eve.

"It was actually stuck between the cushion and the side of the chair and I pulled it out and found the wallet," Bud said when we talked to him Tuesday.

When Bud and Peggy Fischer opened the wallet they found a taxi cab business card, a government photo ID and $400 cash. With that much money, the Fischers said didn't feel comfortable giving it over to the sheriff's office or the airport's lost and found. So for a couple of days they tried to figure out who the owner was. When they didn't get any answers, they called News10NBC.

After we broadcast the story Tuesday night, one of our viewers recognized Luis Arellan and immediately called him.

Today, Luis and the Fischers meet at the medical school to make the happy transfer.

"Very shocked because it's a new country, no money," Luis said when we asked him about losing his wallet. He was surprised he got it back with the money. "It's very difficult that a person gives you the wallet with the money, no? Sometimes you find the wallet, only the wallet but not the money, no? Well I'm so surprised because you know Rochester, the United States are very honest persons. Very honest persons."

To show his appreciation, Luis bought gifts for Bud and Peggy -- hand knit gloves and a hat from his native Peru.

"Our gift is that you got it back. That's our gift," Bud told him. "Seriously it is because we didn't know what to do," Peggy said.

Luis will be in Rochester until March. He is only 22 years old but is in his sixth year of a seven year medical school program in Peru.

Today's reunion was emotional for Bud and Peggy.

"Oh yeah, please. I get very emotional. Like my own kid," Peggy said as tears came to her eyes and she pushed away the microphone.  

"I'm glad it's over,' Bud said. "I'm glad he's got his wallet and money and we're happy both of us."

Here is our original story





News10NBC is trying to help a local couple solve a mystery that started Christmas Eve.

One week ago Bud and Peggy Fischer of Spencerport were at the Rochester airport picking up their granddaughter. Bud decided to wait near some chairs on the second floor and when he put his hand in between the seat cushion and the arm, that's when he found it.

Bud Fischer said, “It was actually stuck between the cushion and the side of the chair and I pulled it out and found the wallet.”

They opened it up and found a young man's ID – government-issued from Peru. His last name is Arellan and he's 22 years old. Then they found the money – four $100 bills.

Peggy Fischer said, “I just felt this kid was wandering around without identification, money, didn't know where to go. I may be wrong but that's how I felt. I felt bad for the kid. “

The Fischers contacted the airport's lost and found but hesitated to turn the wallet over. They worried about the money that was in it. “I just didn't want to give it to anybody because it's just easy to, I hate to say I don't trust anybody, but I don't.”

That’s when they reached out to News10NBC.

There was one more item in the wallet – a business card from a local taxi service. News10NBC tracked down the owner and asked him if he recognized the picture on the ID but he said he didn’t and that he gives out multiple copies of his business card.

Peggy Fischer said, “The wallet has been sitting here and every time I look at it I don't know what to do with it and I'm not just going to have it over to anybody. I want this young person to get it.”

Airport officials say that no one has called about the missing wallet.

Officials with the sheriff’s office tell News10NBC they would like the Fischers to return the wallet to the airport where they would document it and put it in a secure location at the sheriff’s office. News10NBC relayed that suggestion to the Fischers.