It is difficult to travel when you’ve lost your wallet, along with all of your associated identification. Difficult to check in to a hotel, very difficult to rent a car, and seemingly impossible to board an airplane. But when the weary traveler loses their wallet while on the road far from home, how does everything work?

Our friend, blogger and workers' compensation columnist Peter Rousmaniere learned all that firsthand recently, when he lost his wallet in Austin, Texas during the IAIABC National Conference.

Peter is, more than anyone else in workers’ comp, an “adventure traveler”. One to generally eschew the comforts of a large conference hotel, you are far more apt to find him in an off the beaten path B & B, hostel, gypsy bus or Bedouin tent. In high school he was voted “Most likely to accidentally camp with terrorists”. He is the only workers' comp blogger who has ever casually sent me video of Bonobos taken on safari in Africa. He and John Plotkin are probably the only two people in the industry to have ever milked a goat.

At least on purpose, anyway.

Therefore, it should be no surprise that I found him almost excited at the prospect of trying to get home from Texas with no visible means of support or identity.

I ran across Rousmaniere at the Concierge desk of the conference hotel the morning my wife and I were departing. He informed me had lost his wallet. In response to the question on how he might get home, he, the ever inquisitive person, said “this should be interesting.” He followed up by saying, “I could never write about it,” but with a somewhat excited realization said, “but you could!”

Indeed. I am not known as the Jerry Springer of workers’ comp for nothing. Give me your fired, your poor, your befuddled masses…. but I digress.

I assured Rousmaniere that I would be very interested in the outcome of this event, and he promised to email me the details. The man did not disappoint. It turns out our intrepid friend was able to get home with the use of a replacement Visa card and a rental car receipt. Although truth be told, he did seem disappointed that it all worked out so well.

He received his replacement Visa about an hour before departing for the airport. He admits to “feeling a little let down” when it arrived so promptly. He was further frustrated in this quest for adventure by the fact that some foolish algorithm had marked his ticket “Pre-Check” for the Austin TSA personnel. This gave him a level of trust that a nefarious traveler sans ID would not or should not have. The Visa and rental receipt served as the two points of ID the TSA needed. He was taken aside for a “full body pat down”, including being instructed by the (unfortunately) male agent that the “back of his hand will touch my private parts.”

Why Peter went through the line 3 more times has not been fully explained.

And finally, this tidbit for those of us who regularly follow the traveling travails of Peter Rousmaniere, fellow “Rousminators” if you will; Peter forgot his laptop at the TSA checkpoint. That however, was returned to him before he made his flight.

As for our missing wallet, there is a happy ending there as well. Peter first discovered his wallet was missing when trying to leave the Omni hotel parking garage to return to his Bedouin camp (the Omni was the conference hotel, which by the way has the worst parking garage I have ever encountered). He searched the car for his wallet, and even had what he calls a “car hop from the other hotel”, or a camel valet, search his car later. The wallet was not found. However, after Mr. Rousmaniere had successfully bamboozled the TSA into letting him through airport security, he was notified by personnel at Enterprise Rent a Car that they had located his wallet in the dark deep recesses of his car. He was very pleased with this, telling me that this is the “Number 12” reason he likes to rent from Enterprise. He compared it to another car rental company, saying that if he had rented from them he likely would never have seen his wallet again.

I won't name that company, but it rhymes with “hurts”.

I have no idea what the first 11 reasons are that Rousmaniere cites for liking Enterprise. I suppose one would be they pick you up, and two that they drop you off, but I am personally stumped on what the remaining 9 reasons are. I should ask him someday.

Peter's experience should be a lesson to everyone on the road who may one day lose their wallet and all necessary identification. It could also be a lesson for a terrorist with no ID, but who possesses a credit card and a rental receipt. Still, it is nice to know that if I should lose my wallet while on the road, I will not have to start a new life and take up residence wherever I happen to be.

I've written previously of my admiration for Peter Rousmaniere. This last trip that respect grew even more. He met my wife on this trip, and said some very kind things to her about me; and believe me, that doesn't happen very often.  So it is especially positive to note that in this story “all's well that ends well”.  Peter and his wallet are safely home, and we will one day again cross paths when out on the trail. Still, knowing his penchant for unique adventure, I don't expect to find him at the conference hotel.

Wallet or no, there will be no Rousmaniere at the inn.

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