NASHVILLE – Last spring, Scott Curri lost his wallet filled with a lifetime of personal treasures.
What happened next still amazes Curri.
Curri had stopped at an exit off Interstate 95 near Rocky Mount when his phone rang.
It was his wife, Diane.
He fumbled for his phone and, without a thought, put his wallet on the roof of his Volvo.
Only hours later as he made his way toward his destination in Florida did he realize his wallet was gone.
“It was not in the door where it was supposed to be," said Curri, a 65-year-old semi-retired boat mechanic.
He couldn't remember where he had last seen it.
He simply assumed it was gone forever.
Fast forward about six months.
Bobby Liverman was heading out of his state Transportation Department's district engineer's office in Nashville to investigate a drainage complaint.
As he drove, Liverman needed a napkin to clean his sunglasses. He reached into the glovebox – and found a black, leather wallet.
He examined its contents, which included Scott Curri's New York driver license. Liverman mailed him a letter about his lost wallet.
But Curri had moved, and the address was out of date.
Liverman's letter was returned by the post office in early November.
Undeterred, Liverman asked one of his office assistants, Sybil Stancil, to see whether she could locate Curri.
Stancil would spend the next six weeks searching for Curri over the internet when she had spare time at work. She called any phone number she could find, reaching several dead ends.
But, she didn't give up.
“I'm going to find this man," Stancil said.
Then it happened.
Around Christmas, Stancil stumbled upon Curri's wife through social media. So, Stancil called her, then eventually talked to her husband.
It was a phone call Curri never would have expected to receive.
Equally shocking, they had found his wallet.
Stancil asked him to describe the wallet's contents. Satisfied he was the owner, she grabbed a small Christmas box from her home, put the wallet inside it and mailed it to South Glen Falls, N.Y.
“It was a late Christmas present," Stancil said.
When the box arrived in early January, Curri immediately pried open the leather folds. The cash that had been in the wallet was now gone. No matter, he thought. It probably blew away when he drove back onto I-95 on that day so long ago.
The important items were still there, in between the seams.
One was a handwritten paper heart cutout from his wife. “A hug & a kiss for you," it read.
The second was a personal note and a signed photo from 2008 of his mother, Theta Swinton Curri. She passed away in 2016.
“The money and the other stuff didn't matter," Curri said. “But everything else was irreplaceable."
No thanks necessary
Liverman and Stancil were content not to seek any publicity for doing their jobs.
So, it was Curri who made sure to return the favor. He sought out the N.C. Department of Transportation's Communications Office last month, so he could share his amazing story.
He was so grateful for the NCDOT, and Stancil's extra effort for reuniting him with his wallet.
“Sybil is the kind of person who maintains the faith that things are going to be all right," Curri said. “She's a good person, doing the right thing."