My parents sent me an early St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6) gift in late November, the weekend after Thanksgiving. My dad dropped it off at a UPS drop-off point that just happened to share space with an intercity bus station. In this day and age, you can track your package down to each transfer point and its associated time. But this little package fell off the radar screen for days. Neither the senders nor I could find it listed online.
Then early one morning, it reappeared -- in the form of a 6 a.m. phone call. My father was not overjoyed to be awoken by a stranger's early-morning call, but after the guy on the other end of the line explained his reason for calling, my parents hoped for the best. Turns out it was a third-shift bus-company employee who'd discovered the package -- in Secaucus, N.J. -- and was calling to say he'd do us all a favor and put it back into the UPS system. Our best guess is that the package somehow got mixed up with the bus-based package express system, and thus ended up in this man's hands instead of in mine.
But today, the package finally made it to me, none the worse for wear, although an early St. Nick's Day present had now become a slightly belated one.