Burton Maugans of Acworth, Ga., is not one to believe in fortunes and mythology, except for that time his lost wallet of 24 years was found on the same day his Chinese fortune cookie predicted the same fate.
“A small lucky package is on its way to you soon,” read the fortune inside the cookie Maugans opened while out to lunch two weeks ago.
“I’m not a big believer in fortune cookies but I just thought it was interesting,” Maugans, 44, told ABCNews.com.
Maugans had been waterskiing nearly 25 years ago on a family vacation at his grandparents’ home in the small coastal town of Bolivia, North Carolina, when he lost his wallet in the water.
“It was in the Intracoastal Waterway,” Maugans recalled. “I was skiing and there was no point in looking for it.”
That was in 1988 or 1989, according to Maugans, while he was a college student.
Two weeks ago, on the same day Maugans went out to lunch for Chinese food and opened the fortuitous fortune cookie, he received a call from a man named Jim Parker, a stranger to Maugans, who said he knew Maugans’ name, birthday, height, weight and address.
“He said the only reason he knew that is because he had found my wallet,” Maugans said.
Parker told Maugans that he and his wife had been walking along the shore of Holden Beach, about 20 miles from Bolivia, when they noticed a wallet washed up on the sand.
The Parkers rinsed off the wallet with fresh water, let it dry out and then used Maugans’ IDs, still intact in the wallet, to search for and find him on Google.
Maugans described his reaction as more “curious” than shocked when he received the call that his long-lost wallet had been found. The paper items in Maugans’ wallet were gone, but his college and high school IDs, driver’s license, library card and ATM card were all there, intact.
“I appreciate Jim sending it to me,” Maugans said. “Most people would have probably seen that there was no money in it and thrown it aside, I’d imagine.”
Maugans says he won’t tempt fate, again.
“Oh, yeah,” he said, “I’ll hang on to it.”