Filmmaker Casey Neistat’s Simple Trick For Getting Your Lost Stuff Back

Losing things is a bummer, but if you urge the person who finds it to do the right thing, getting your things back can be rewarding in more ways than one.


Even the most responsible person can occasionally drop his wallet on the train, or leave her iPad outside a coffee shop in a rush. And Casey Neistat, by his own admission, isn’t the most responsible person when it comes to keeping track of his stuff.

Casey Neistat

“I have a tendency to lose things–everything. But to an astonishing degree, things seem to find their way back to me,” Neistat explains in his latest video, which he put on his YouTube channel this week. “I attribute this to the fact that I write my phone number and ‘please do the right thing’ on everything I might lose.”

In the two-and-a-half-minute spot, titled “Do The Right Thing,” Neistat explains the difference between good people who’ll return a wallet emblazoned with the words “Do the right thing” and those who might not. (Neistat’s other work includes last year’s four-minute Nike FuelBand ad that saw him blow the production budget on a trip around the world with a friend, as well as some of the most shocking and raw Hurricane Sandy footage.) To society’s credit, in the guerrilla-style train ride he shoots to test this approach, he only encounters good people.

” ‘Do the right thing’ is encouraging,” Neistat says in the video. “It puts the onus on whoever finds it to be honorable–and nothing’s more valuable than honor.”

To encourage honorable behavior–and the prospect of getting your stuff back–among people who find things that belong to people other than Neistat himself, the filmmaker made a bunch of stickers that say “Please do the right thing” with a spot for a phone number. Slap one on your wallet or smartphone, car keys, and other valuables, and give yourself time to be rewarded by the innate goodness of humanity.

Neistat is offering to send these to anyone who sends a self-addressed stamped envelope to his studio. So get on down to the Post Office and put one in the mail–unless, that is, you’ve already lost your keys.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club