“Star Trek” actor William Shatner accidentally left his wallet at a northern California fruit stand but the family who owns the farm, local law enforcement and the Beverly Hills Police Department all worked together to make sure he got it back.
The adventure all began last Wednesday at B&T Farms in Gilroy, California. Tognetti’s 15-year-old daughter, Sophia Tognetti, was at work manning her family’s fruit stand when she realized a customer who had purchased two bags of cherries and corn had driven off without his wallet. The following day, when her dad was around, she mentioned the lost wallet had been found in the fruit stand’s corn bin.
“She had no clue who he was,” Tognetti chuckled while recalling the incident to TODAY Food.
According to her father (who is a fourth-generation farmer), it’s not uncommon for customers to lose or accidentally leave behind their wallets in the bins. Usually, Tognetti does all he can to ensure lost items are returned to their owners. He’s called credit card companies and returned items by email. But it wasn’t until Tognetti took a peek inside of his daughter’s latest find that he realized he was about to embark on a voyage to the very big star best known for his role as James T. Kirk of the “Star Trek” franchise.
“I was like, ‘You gotta be kidding me. This guy did not drop his wallet,’” Tognetti explained, adding that he asked his daughter and her co-worker what they recalled of their interaction with the actor. “They remembered him because he had a strange request that most people don’t need. He wanted two baskets of white cherries, four red, but he wanted them from the coolers because he said he had a long drive to Beverly Hills. He wanted them cold. He likes his cherries cold. And then he wanted $2 worth of corn.”
Inside, Tognetti found a driver’s license, a COVID-19 vaccine card, as well as a credit, ATM, and CVS card— all with Shatner’s name on them.
Determined to return the wallet to its rightful owner, Tognetti contacted his friend Officer Mark Tarasco at the Gilroy Police Department.
“I said, ‘Hey, this guy left his wallet. Anyway, could you get a hold of him?’” Tognetti recalled. “And he text back. ‘Dude, you’re joking. There’s no way this guy left his wallet at your food stand.’”
What took place soon after was a two-hour effort in which the Gilroy police connected with the Beverly Hills Police Department in Los Angeles. A text thread between members of the Gilroy and Beverly Hills police departments and Tognetti was launched in a battle to connect with him first.
“The sheriffs were telling the police, ‘Hey, you’re out of your jurisdiction. You can’t be doing this. This is our call,’” Tognetti chuckled. “Everyone wanted to find Mr. Shatner and be the ones involved in returning his wallet. It was pretty funny.”
Eventually, the Beverly Hills police got in touch with Shatner’s agent. The wallet was sent via FedEx along with a few souvenirs for the actor from Tognetti and the police as well. In addition to some patches from the police departments, Tognetti tucked in a hat from B&T Farms. That Thursday and the enterprise was complete by the next day.
Not long after, Shatner thanked Tognetti and his daughter for ensuring his wallet was returned.
“I would like to thank Gary and Natalie of B&T Farms @TfarmsB for their extreme honesty in returning my lost wallet. They are obviously good citizens,” he wrote. “I would also like to thank Officer Mark Tarasco and Sergeant John Ballard from the @GilroyPD My best, Bill.”
The family-owned farm was quick to respond to the actor’s post, writing, “It was our pleasure Mr. Shatner. I grew up watching Star Trek with my dad. B and T Farms and GILROY Law Enforcement are friendly inhabitants of the Federation so hold up on hitting them with phasers. Live long and prosper sir Shatner! Give us a holler the next time you stop by!”
Fans of Shatner and the incredible story chimed in to praise the Tognettis for their fast acting and honesty.
“If I had found your wallet, I would of course have returned it immediately. But at least insisted on a finder’s reward by seeing each other in person for a moment,” one fan commented. “All the best from Germany, Mr. Shatner...”
“Love it!! Gary and Natalie are amazing people! Gilroy folks are real patriots!” one user replied. “This proves once again that there’re (sic) still amazing people like the Tognetti’s who strive to make a difference and really do! LIVE LONG & PROSPER.”
“I’ve been in contact with his rep, or agent. They asked what we wanted to return his wallet,” Tognetti explained. “And I said all I want is a picture of him wearing my hat. I just want a picture of him wearing my hat. I just thought that’d be cool memorabilia for myself.”