A social media campaign has reunited a worker with the bulging pay packet he lost in a pub just two days before Christmas.
The story began when a brown old-style pay envelope inscribed with just the word “Mariusz” was handed in at the Alexandra pub in Wimbledon.
Pub manager Mick said: “So last night in the Alex we found a pay packet. It’s obviously some poor bugger’s Christmas money, so we’d really like to get it back to them. I’ve a hunch it was a bunch of folks I spoke to myself last night, they said they were from a construction company… One of them will be really sad today, let’s make him really happy by finding him and getting him his Christmas box back.”
But with the limited information, leads were not immediately forthcoming. Nonetheless, Mick pressed on, even tweeting stills from the pub CCTV, pointing out who he thought “Mariusz” could be. Learning the name is Polish, the pub even put out a translated appeal in the language, earning it some traction in the local community.
Two days later there was still no sign of him, with Mick ruefully tweeting: “Come on Mariusz, we’ve got your wages. The worst Christmas ever is about to turn into the best Christmas ever, just gotta find him.”
Christmas came and went, but Mick continued to push the appeal on social media, until on 27 December he revealed: “Oh my God we’ve got him! He’s just walked into the sports bar, I’ve checked the CCTV and it’s him!”
The jubilant news was followed with the post: “After over 1.5 million Facebook views, 25 thousand shares, Twitter activity of over 3 million, he walks into the Alex & says “I’m MARIUSZ”
It emerged Mariusz had returned to Poland for Christmas and decided not to tell his wife he had lost his money, reasoning “I didn’t want the stress over Christmas.” It was the couple’s son who spotted the campaign and asked his father if he was the mystery Mariusz.
“He left a hefty tip and like all Polish people, was a brilliant bloke,” wrote Mick.
He added: “We just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who tweeted it, retweeted it, translated it. We never had one single fraudulent claim (a couple of jokey ones only)… you did it people!”