The only time I ever lost my wallet was at a Twins game in 1972. When I discovered my back pocket was empty, I remember my brother Tom and I running across the parking lot and crawling under a half-open service door to get back into Met Stadium.

As we walked through the bowels of that venerable sports palace looking for help, my stomach was in knots thinking about losing over sixty dollars, my driver’s license, credit card and student discount card for Burger King. Suddenly, we spotted a burly figure coming toward us. Was this my angel of mercy?

Calvin Griffith statue, Target Field. (Photo: Randy Stern/Flickr Creative Commons)

“Can I help you boys?” To our amazement, it was Twins owner Calvin Griffith. He was very patient and sympathetic as I told him about my predicament. Calvin gave us directions to the usher’s room and even walked us over to a private elevator.

“I sure hope you find your wallet,” Calvin smiled as he shook our hands. Then he added with a wink, “I hate losing money too!.”

Despite rubbing some people the wrong way, we found Calvin to be warm, charming, and willing to help. Unfortunately, my wallet hadn’t been turned in and it wasn’t around our seats. I left my name and number, but knew it would be a miracle if I ever saw it again.

Sleep came grudgingly that night. Thoughts of the lost money and replacing those cards throbbed in my head. I was still in a catatonic state when the phone rang around 9:30 am.

“Is this Louis DiSanto?” a voice said. “I found your wallet.”

It’s hard to describe the feelings of elation and relief when I heard those beautiful words. Within minutes, I was on my way to a house in Richfield, where I was greeted by an elderly man named Chet, my other angel of mercy. After many thanks and regaling him with our Calvin Griffith encounter, I offered Chet ten dollars. He steadfastly refused.

“The look of joy on your face is reward enough for me,” he smiled.

I’ve never forgotten Chet or that lovable old millionaire Calvin Griffith. To me, they are the epitome of Minnesota Nice.

Photo courtesy of Randy Stern. Visit Randy’s photostream on Flickr.