Postcard from... Madrid


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The Independent Online


A few years ago, badly jet-lagged after an overnight transcontinental flight, I took the Madrid Metro from the airport and, rather than collapsing into bed and sleeping as planned, spent a bleary-eyed afternoon frantically cancelling credit and cashpoint cards and filing a report at a local police station about a pickpocketed wallet.

Others are luckier, like the unnamed American citizen, whose wallet containing a driving licence, several credit cards and a cheque for two million dollars was found in a carriage by a Madrid Metro maintenance technician on Wednesday and handed over to police.

The train had been sent for inspection because one of the doors had failed to close properly. The American’s wallet, jammed into a hollow section of the frame, turned out to be the culprit.

Although the owner has been identified, nobody has yet reported the loss of a cheque that presumably most people would miss quite quickly.

The wallet was found the same day that a magazine study rated Madrid as the “second least honest city in the world”, thanks to a test to see how many “lost wallets” distributed in parks, stations and so on and containing money and IDs were handed in to police stations. Madrid came second-last of 16 cities, with just two wallets returned.

Wednesday’s genuine wallet case, arguably, blows the theory of “dishonest Madrid” out of the water.

I never got mine back, though.