None of us are immune to the act of losing something kind of important. A piece of technology, a desperately needed tool, or a trinket that has sentimental value. It's even worse when the object belongs to someone else, and now you have to own up to your blunder and tell them you lost it.
Imagine that, but you lost the item for almost half a century before finding it again. That's precisely what happened to one person who accidentally borrowed a library book for 47 years, and when the library received the book they found something interesting inside.
Have You Ever Had An Overdue Library Book?
That feeling of shame, especially when you're a kid, can be overwhelming. Facing the fines is already brought enough, but having to look a librarian in the eye when they see how long you held it for is truly embarrassing.
Thankfully, one man put any and all of us to shame when he accidentally kept a library book for 47 years past its due date.
Better Late Than Never
The book in question was 'Chilton's Foreign Car Repair Manual', which had been checked out in 1975 from the Lake Elmo location of the Washington County Library.
They received an anonymous package earlier this year containing the book. The choice to mail it in was a move that WREG Memphis described as 'wise', as the borrower "thereby avoiding the disapproving glare of any librarians at the front desk."
That's Not All
There was more than just the extremely late book present in the box. Once the book was opened, a letter that contained both an apology and an explanation was found tucked inside the front cover.
"In the mid-1970s, I was living in [Lake Elmo] and was working on an old Mercedes Benz," begun the borrower's story, "I took out this book for reference. A few months later I moved and apparently the book got packed up in the move."
Lost In The Chaos
"Forty-seven years later I found it [...] in a trunk with other interesting things from the '70s. It's a little overdue but I thought you might want it back."
They then apologized, "My apologies to anyone in Lake Elm who was working on an old Benz in the last 47 years. I probably can't afford the overdue charge but I will send you enough for a new book."
They Kept True To Their Promise
Alongside the letter, there was also a donation that would have covered the cost of the book.
Thankfully for the person who'd been holding onto it for so long, the Washington County Library stopped charging overdue fees some time ago, so they were already completely off the hook for what must have been an astronomically large library tab.
Someone in the comments of the library's Facebook post asked when they stopped charging fees, to which they responded, "We haven't had daily fines for overdue materials for a long time, but we do still charge a replacement fee if an item is lost or damaged. Back in January we also eliminated what was called a 'processing fee' related to extremely overdue items, so now there are no charges for materials that are returned late, just those that are lost or damaged."
The Book Is In Perfect Condition
In the same post, they say that they're "just glad to have the book back!"
The library shared that they plan on using the donated money to buy a more updated version of the manual. Though the book is undamaged, it certainly shows its age, and is more than a little dated when it comes to modern car repair.
Lost And Found
This anonymous borrower knew they made a mistake and did what they could to remedy it.
Everyone loses things, even things that belong to others. It's not malicious or intentional, but it's still best practice to apologize anyway and provide what you can to make up for the item lost.
The borrower really came through and showed their character when they found the book in their belongings so many years later, and given the library's gratitude, it proved that honesty really is the best policy.