A British expat has been reunited with his leather wallet and passport – nearly two decades after they were lost during a train ride across Switzerland.
It appears no one stole anything during the 18 years that Colin Mendoza’s wallet was missing as it still contains the passport and his long-expired credit cards, driving licence, receipts and an identification card from an old job.
But where it was all this time and how it was discovered remain a mystery that may never be solved.
Colin still isn’t certain how he lost the wallet while travelling by train from Zurich Airport to Geneva in 1996.
He fell asleep on the train and didn’t realise it was missing until he was getting into a car in Geneva. He reported it missing to police and then went through the hassle of getting a new passport and cancelling and ordering new credit cards.
Years passed and Colin, who now lives in the US state of Connecticut, forgot about the incident until he received a surprise email from a police officer in the tiny Swiss mountain town of Chur.
It turns out someone found the wallet on the floor of a shopping centre in Chur – more than four hours by train from Geneva and 90 minutes from Zurich – and handed it in to local police.
After a quick search online an officer found his LinkedIn profile and tracked down his email address.
Colin, 50, told MailOnline Travel: ‘There was a little bit of shock and surprise when I received the email. It was an “Oh my God” kind of thing.
‘I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. The fact that everything was intact and it was found in a supermarket, that’s weird.’
Colin said the wallet itself – a gift from his wife – is in good condition and showing few signs of additional wear and tear.
‘I’m amazed at its good condition and that it had all my old ID – my passport, driving licence, old company ID and all my credit cards. I’m not sure if at the time there was money inside or not, but I think not.
‘My wife even remembered the wallet as she gave it to me.’
Colin, a married father of two who runs his own media business, said the police haven’t figured out how the wallet ended up in Chur.
A police spokesman told Switzerland's SDA news agency: ‘We have no idea how it found its way from the train to a shopping centre.
‘But the man was surprised and delighted to have it back, although the passport and credit cards had of course long expired.’