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Personal crisis averted: a bag lost at the beach — and found

A bag forgotten by Pat Dirzulaitis of Massapequa

A bag forgotten by Pat Dirzulaitis of Massapequa at Tobay Beach, but returned by strangers, on Sunday, July 9, 2017. Credit: Pat Dirzulaitis

On Sunday, we visited Tobay Beach with hundreds of other people. When we left, we forgot a cooler bag that contained my wallet, phone, my husband’s phone, all my credit cards, $100, my medical cards and my husband’s medical information.

After arriving back in Massapequa, we realized we left it there, and I frantically drove back, praying that I would find it or someone turned it in — even invoking St. Anthony, patron saint of lost things.

The parking lot was full, but after circling a few times, I found a spot.

I checked with people at the Tobay souvenir stand and found no one had turned in the cooler bag. Then I went to where we had sat, near a lifeguard stand, and the same people were still there.

It turned out that a man seated nearby had found the bag and asked a woman whether it belonged to her family. The woman, Despina Manitaras, and her sister-in-law, Antonella Ioannou, both of North Massapequa, said no, but they took up the task of finding me.

While I was on my way, they had found my husband’s contact information in the bag and called him. When I arrived, Despina’s family was so fantastic. They called my name and showed me the bag.

I cried and hugged Despina and could not begin to thank her and her family for their efforts to find me and return the bag and its contents. I offered a reward, but they refused. On my way home, I stopped at a church to light a candle of thanks.

What could have been a disastrous day turned into a wonderful day. I thank God and thank Despina and her family for being so caring. With all the bad things going on, we still have hope. There are many wonderful people and honest still left in the world.

Pat Dirzulaitis, Massapequa