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Returned purse, cash inspires owner

Lidia Couzo had just cashed a large check when she sat down at an Elmwood Avenue coffee shop, launching a series of events that helped reinforce her faith in young people and her love for her Elmwood Village area.

It happened a week ago Saturday, when Couzo cashed an $1,800 check and met some people at Coffee Culture, on Elmwood Avenue at Bryant Street.

When she left the coffee shop, she also unwittingly left behind her purse, with the cash tucked inside.

Not 15 minutes later, she got a call from the coffee shop manager, Jessica Wieczorek, who told her what happened.

Another customer spotted the purse and pointed it out to Wieczorek, who went through it to determine the owner.

"My first thought was, oh my goodness," Wieczorek said. "She's probably really worried. I'd be freaked out."

She saw a Sam's Club card with Couzo's name, then tried to track her down the way any 26-year-old person would do: She went to her computer to Google the name. Armed with Couzo's cellphone number, she called her to report the misplaced purse.

Couzo got back her purse and gave Wieczorek a reward, but she also wanted to recognize the young woman for her selfless act.

Not a dime was missing.

"I think it's amazing," Couzo added. "That just shows you the type of people we have here. In an economy that has people reeling, to me this was significant."

"I don't think I did anything extraordinary. People I work with and know would have done the same thing," Wieczorek said.

This would have been a better story if Wieczorek had been rewarded with another good deed.

But late last week, she was struck by a car while walking across Elmwood Avenue and broke her leg.

That seems totally unfair.

"It just happened," she said. "It was an accident."