How I lost my wallet at Singapore Changi airport

We've all heard the horror stories of people being mugged or pick-pocketed while travelling overseas. This isn't that. This is just that annoying, stupid thing people do when they are tired, jet-lagged, making a transaction in a foreign language, or otherwise distracted. They pay for something in a shop, and walk out without their credit card, their wallet, their specs, or indeed, the very thing they went in to buy.

Factor in to your overseas trip that you will lose something, and you will have a better time of it. Just accept it, before you board the plane (darn it, where did I leave my duty-free booze?)

Even as I realised I had mislaid the recharge cable for my phone, I was thanking my lucky stars I was in Singapore - where techy stuff is as common as hokkien noodles – and en route to Hong Kong, where techy stuff is as common as roast goose restaurants.

So I get to Singapore's Changi Airport, find a Sprint-Cass store, choose the right cable, pay for it and walk out, leaving a small wallet of three credit cards on the bench.

This I discover when checking in to my hotel six hours later in Hong Kong. Panic. No cards. Aargh, I'll be hacked. Identity theft. By the time I get back to Australia, my life will belong to someone else. Calm down. Ring the store. I ring the store and they couldn't be nicer. They run through the whole CCTV for the morning (the exact time of purchase is on my receipt). Nothing. Aaargh.

Right store, wrong terminal. I ring the Terminal 3 store, and they couldn't be nicer, either. They run through the entire CCTV for the morning. They find the incident on video. They ring their employee at home. They tell me he ran to the departure gate to return the wallet to me, but I had already boarded, so he dropped it off at the Information Counter.

That's how lucky you can be. For every horror story, there's a happy-ending story. Precious belongings returned, friendships made, and certain loyalties – to airlines, corporations or tech stores - justified.

The system works so well at Changi that I was able to pick up my wallet within a brief stopover (between 11pm and midnight) four days later, without a hitch. Then my husband left his reading glasses on the plane on the way home. Here we go again.

See also: The eight essential items you need to sleep well on a plane

See also: Why not switching your phone to flight mode could cost you hundreds of dollars

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