Losing a wallet is one of the most annoying things that can happen to a person. Having to deal with losing your cash, replacing your cards, and getting new ID is such a pain that all you can do is hope and pray there's a chance it'll get returned soon.
Now imagine you're on a boat anchored in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and you lose your wallet overboard. Would you ever expect to see it again? Well neither did Chris, who shared his story online:
"This happened way back in 1998.
I was 18, slightly nerdy, and I was not a drinker, by any means. Let's get the funniest part of the entire story out of the way with right now. I'll admit it; I had a bowl cut. (You'll see.)
I was best buds with two guys I had known for years: Ryan and Dave. Ryan's dad was an airline pilot and had some free tickets to Hawaii, so he offered to take us all for a long weekend. Needless to say, we were stoked. I had never been to Hawaii before, and I was looking forward to the experience very much.
The flight was long, but soon enough we arrived in the base-model-Ford-Mustang-convertible-capital-of-the-world. It seemed as though that was the only car available to rent on the island.
Ryan, Dave, and I (Chris) were lucky enough to have our own room, which meant trouble at that age. We did some bar hopping and found it quite difficult to get drinks from the bartenders since we all looked pretty young. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so we found a guy in the stairwell of our hotel named Cal and asked him to buy us some drinks. He agreed... and debauchery ensued.
Dave and I did a bit of drinking in the hotel room, and Ryan did quite a bit more. He was in pretty bad shape and our room was a disaster. Bottles and cans were strewn about and everything was in complete disarray. Ryan was sitting on the toilet in the bathroom, puking into the shower, when his dad called. He didn't like what he heard and said that he was coming up to check on us. He was in the same hotel, only a few floors away, so we started completely freaking out.
It was a mad scramble to clean the room and put all the bottles and cans into a trash bag and dispose of it in the stairwell before his dad got up there. We kept Ryan in the bathroom and somehow convinced his dad that everything was in excellent order and Ryan had just come down with a stomach bug. In hindsight, his dad almost certainly knew exactly what was going on, as he kept a much closer eye on us from there on out.
On one of our adventures outside of the hotel that night, we saw an advertisement in a bar for a drinking cruise. The flyer made it sound like a ton of fun, complete with hot chicks, music, dancing, drinks, and a massive floating trampoline. What more could an 18-year-old ask for? Absolutely nothing... so we decided to see if Ryan's dad would allow us to go. I believe we told him that we wanted to go on a day cruise, while conveniently leaving out the part about the drinking, so he didn't seem to have much of a problem with us going. There was one catch, though: the cruise was on a Sunday and Ryan's family was quite religious. Dave and I were given the option to go to Sunday mass, while Ryan was not. We all went back to the hotel room for the night to ponder the situation.
The next day, we all met up with Ryan's dad early in the morning and rendered our verdict. In true Top Gear spirit, when one of our comrades was in need and the open road was ahead of us, Dave and I did what we had to do: we left Ryan to go to church with his dad and we got the heck on that ship. And oh man, was that a good decision. Sort of.
I went to a small high school with a graduating class of less than 60 kids, and I definitely wasn't a big partier. This cruise was absolutely nuts, especially for me. Loud music was blasting, tons of meatheads were screaming and being obnoxious, beautiful women in skimpy bikinis were on their backs with cheering crowds around them, as whipped cream was sprayed onto their navels. Guys were doing body shots off of topless girls, making out... you name it. It was paradise for Dave and me, but we needed some drinks to really let loose.
Now that I think about it, I'm not quite sure how we managed to get on this party cruise in the first place since the minimum age for the cruise was 21. Regardless, we decided to chance it and go ask the bartender for a drink, hoping he wouldn't ask us for any ID. Dave looked older than I did, so he was nominated to do the deed. If he was successful, our drink of choice was going to be a long island iced tea. He made it up to the bar and wasn't looking too confident in himself, and I was getting worried that we were going to be busted for being on a drinking cruise underage. Not good.
Dave eventually went for it, hands shaking... and he got lucky. The bartender didn't ID him and he came back with the massive drink! We were stoked, to say the least. Again, keep in mind that neither of us were big drinkers. Also, keep in mind that the bartender made this long island iced tea extremely strong. Well, this long island iced tea absolutely obliterated me. I became a flaming idiot and lost every single bit of the little common sense I had. I guess that was the goal, but this was a bit more than I had planned for.
By this point, everyone else was extremely wasted as well, and the escapades were only getting more Girls-Gone-Wild'esque. At the peak of my drunkenness, the boat came to a stop and anchored in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Everyone started jumping off the back of the boat and getting onto the massive floating trampoline that was being dragged behind it. This was so amazing for Dave and me. Girls were bouncing everywhere and we were hammered out of our minds. Every once in a while we would mention poor Ryan, who was probably sitting in the pew beside his father, singing hymns at Sunday mass. Oh well, THE SHOW MUST GO ON!
I then decided to join in on the festivities. When I do things, I normally go all out. It's all or nothing for me, and that would prove to be a bit problematic in this case. All of the other inebriated people were jumping off the back of the boat, which was the proper place to jump off, as it was lower and intended for such a purpose. That didn't seem to be cool enough for me, however, as I climbed up on the side of the boat and let out a scream... then jumped into the ocean.
With my wallet in my pocket.
My wallet was forced out of my pocket by the sudden impact from the 20+ foot jump into the water and, unbeknownst to me, promptly sank to the bottom of the ocean floor. Dave and I continued to have a great time on the party cruise and our lives were perfect. I didn't realize that I had lost my wallet until we disembarked the ship and got back to the island. This was not a good situation at all, but fortunately, it was pre 9/11 and Ryan's dad could pull some strings since he was a pilot. I eventually made it back to the continental United States and got a new license from the DMV. All was back to normal for a couple years.
So then, over two years later, my mom received a manilla envelope in the mail, sent from Colorado and addressed to me. I opened up the envelope and inside I found my worn wallet, filled with sand, with my faded ID card and the tattered remains of a twenty dollar bill inside. Also in the envelope was a handwritten letter that read:
I was floored! I could not believe that this wallet made it back to me, years after my stupid teenage self had lost it in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. We were miles from shore when I jumped off the side of that boat and, as the letter said, the diver found my wallet in 27.432 meters of water. Absolutely astonishing, if you ask me. My mom saved it for all these years, and I just got around to taking some pictures earlier tonight.
For anyone who might be skeptical, check out the pictures below! (But be warned... the bowl cut is bad.)"