Lost hat

Local musician Perry Thomas, left, was delighted to reunite the hat he’d found with its owner, Susan Finger, after she placed an ad to find it. Finger had received the hat from her late husband, Art, on their first date in 1977. 

Misplacing an item dear to your heart can be really devastating, especially if that item holds deep sentimental value.

Once the panic of losing the item sets in, it’s followed by the sadness of the prospect of never seeing the beloved keepsake again.

However, as one Tullahoma woman recently learned firsthand, reuniting with a lost treasure can be thrilling, especially during the holiday season.

Susan Finger received a hat from her husband, Art, on their first date back in 1977, and she’s worn it almost every day since.

When her husband passed away in July 2017, the hat gained even more sentimental value as she was able to have a piece of her husband with her at all times.

Over the years, the hat became more than just Finger’s favorite accessory – it became a part of her.

“I wore my hat every day,” Finger said. “It’s been on my head since the day my husband got it for me. Without my hat, I was afraid people wouldn’t recognize me.”

For Finger, losing one of her most beloved items was heartbreaking. But with a little help from a local paper and, thanks to the kindness of a stranger, Finger was reunited with her beloved hat – and she now has a new friend as well.

While shopping at Walmart in Tullahoma on Wednesday, Dec. 12, Finger realized she had lost her hat. Frantically searching all the places she had been, she couldn’t find it.

“I retraced all my steps, but my hat was nowhere to be found,” Finger said. “I even went up to the lost and found to see if anyone had already picked it up and turned it in. No one had though.”

Devastated by the loss, Finger worried that she may never see her hat again.

After mourning the loss for a few days, Finger decided to go out on a limb and place an ad in the local papers to see if anyone had found her hat and to request its safe return.

On Dec. 19, she received a phone call.

“I was sitting on the couch watching the Food Network channel waiting for ‘Survivor’ to come on when I got a phone call,” she said. “It was from a man named Perry Thomas. Perry is a musician in town, and I had seen him play locally a few times. I knew who he was, but I didn’t know him personally. Then he mentioned that he had found my hat.”

Thomas came across Finger’s hat while doing some shopping of his own. Although he didn’t know at the time how much the hat meant to his owner, he said he was sure someone would be looking for it.

“I was shopping at Walmart when I saw this hat,” Thomas said. “I had intentions to turn it in to the lost and found because I knew someone was missing it. However, I stuck it in my pocket and continued shopping. I accidently forgot all about it until I got home and realized it was still with me. I was flipping through the paper on Wednesday and I saw a picture of the hat I had found at Walmart. I gave Susan a call and I was happy to see her with the hat again.”

Finger extended her deep gratitude to Thomas for returning her hat.

“I appreciated so much that my hat was returned to me,” she said. “I offered Perry a reward, but of course he didn’t want to take it. I was so devastated when I lost my hat that I thought I would be very excited when I got it back. However, the surrealism of the moment overtook me and I was just very thankful.”

Finding Finger’s hat was a little bit of a Christmas miracle, and she looks forward to many more years with her special hat upon her head.

Faith Few can be reached at ffew@tullahomanews.com.