Air Force Vet Praises 24-Year-Old For ‘Integrity’ After Losing ID

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(CBS) Diane Thompson
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MARINA DEL REY (CBSLA.com) — An Army Air Force veteran says she may have found renewed confidence in up-and-coming generations after losing her wallet in midday traffic.

KNX 1070’s Diane Thompson reports Mary Passantino didn’t listen to her little voice while loading groceries in her car.

“I put my wallet on top of my car and I said to myself, “Mary, don’t put your wallet on top of your car,” Passantino recalled.

After she failed to heed her own advice, Passantino continued on with her day and eventually pulled out of a Marina del Rey shopping center.

As she continued down Lincoln Boulevard, other drivers honked at Passantino, but she was still none the wiser.

“I thought, ‘Why are they honking at me?’, and within two minutes I found out, ’cause I saw the wallet fly off the roof of my car onto Lincoln Boulevard,” she said.

Passantino made a quick u-turn at Culver Boulevard and raced back to the scene. She got out of her car and braved the traffic in an effort to retrieve her wallet, which turned up all but empty.

While she found some items scattered around the scene, one very important piece of identification was missing.

“The one thing I was terrified about losing was my veteran’s ID, because it had my name, my Social Security number, and my birth date on it,” Passantino said.

That’s when Alex Bigge, a 24-year old visual effects artist, stumbled across the missing contents while on her way to lunch near the same shopping center.

“We were walking by on the sidewalk and there’s like a little hill, and on the hill there was just cards…it looked like somebody had lost all their cards, or somebody had taken them, I thought,” recalled Bigge.

Bigge later went online to track down Passantino using the information on her cards, and eventually found her phone number. She also contacted the Veterans Administration office to notify them of Passantino’s loss.

Within a few hours, Passantino was in touch with Bigge, who returned her VA card along with the rest of her wallet.

Passantino praised Bigge for demonstrating what she described as an all-too-scarce virtue.

“I was really touched by her integrity, because unfortunately nowadays, a lot of people – especially young people – don’t have that, and she did,” Passantino said.

But Bigge said she only did what she did because that’s what she would want someone else to do if the roles were reversed.

“I think about like, what would happen if my mom had lost her stuff like that?” she said. “I would want somebody to do the same thing for her that I did for Mary.”

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