LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A wallet lost in the Buffalo River ten years ago has been returned to its owner this week thanks to the keen eyes of a Little Rock woman.
While floating the Buffalo River last weekend, Nikki Jastrzebski saw something in the water that caught her eye. There under two feet of water, was a wallet wedged between a rock and a tree branch.
"I started looking at it and started realizing that the license expired 2004 and there were credit cards that were expired, and I started thinking 'Wow, this is from Illinois. It's 10 years old. This is something,'" Jastrzebski recalled.
Other people thought so, too. After she shared her story on the Forbidden Hillcrest Facebook page, the lost wallet went viral, getting thousands of likes and hundreds of shares. Then Jastrzebski went a step further and after some online detective work, tracked down the wallet's owner and sent it to him in Illinois.
"I said 'Hey, you don't know me, but I was on the Buffalo River last Saturday, and I found a wallet, and it had your name,'" said Nikki Jastrzebski. "He was like 'Oh my God! That was 10 years ago!''"
"My wallet alright. My Blockbuster card," laughed Mike Bradford. "The magnetic strips wore off the two credit cards, and then I have my driver's license that's in pristine condition."
Mike Bradford told her about his canoe trip on the Buffalo in 2003. It was a harrowing adventure in high water that ended with their boat overturning and both he and his wife needing to be rescued.
"Most folks capsized. Canoes gone, buckets floating down the river with wallets and beers and lunches in them," Bradford said.
Bradford said the wallet was made from black snake skin, and he guesses it may have been the snake skin that helped preserve the wallet submerged underwater for a decade. And, while he said he wants to return to float the Buffalo River, his wife says she'll never go back after that trip 10 years ago.
Bradford said he plans on framing the drivers license that was in it as a memento of that eventful float.