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San Diego Fair lost and found manages hundreds of items

From keys and wallets to coolers and strollers
By the numbers: San Diego County Fair
Posted at 4:34 PM, Jul 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-04 20:39:39-04

DEL MAR, Calif. (KGTV) — Like she has for the past 21 years, Gail Tompkins spends her days at the San Diego County Fair looking over an ever-growing pile of stuff.

Tompkins manages the Lost and Found. This year, she says they've seen hundreds of items. Some of them are fairly mundane.

"We've got about 50 pairs of glasses," Tompkins says. "Almost 200 credit cards turned in, drivers licenses, purses, wallets. I've got a whole box of baseball caps."

Other items are more head scratching.

"We've had crutches, we've had walkers, we've had an oxygen tank one year."

This year, Tompkins says the weirdest items include an old metal cooler, a single wheel that appears to have fallen off a stroller, and an advertising stand-up sign. They also have a six-foot tall stuffed dog that someone won on the Midway.

"This we think someone just could'nt get in their car so they just left it with us," she says.

Managing it all is a labor of love. Tompkins will write a letter to anyone who loses an item with an address on it. She'll call if she finds a phone number. And her staff will go out of their way to make sure people are reunited with what they lost.

"We had a young lady who lost a visor on a ride," she says of one particular mission. "It was the last thing her father gave her before he died. And we had one of my reps, Teri, she walked the midway, found the visor, and reunited it with the young lady."

In another instance, they helped a teenager find his wallet.

"It had all his graduation money in it, and between all the reps here, we got it reunited to the young man. And he was in tears."

Tompkins says it feels "amazing" to help people find what they lost. They also help reunite lost children with their parents. She says her staff gives their full effort to every item.

"This staff really cares. Everybody, they really care about it. Because we've probably lost something in our lives, they know how it feels."

In 2019,the fair had more than 1400 items in the Lost and Found. There's no official count for this year. The Fair keeps lost items through September. Anything left after that is donated to local charities.

If you've lost something at the fair, you can call 858-794-1124.