At some point most of us have stumbled across some cash laying on the ground with no indication of whose it is, and have felt no guilt in picking it up. Likewise, most of us have lost some money with no hope of it ever being returned.
When Yesenia Del Valle arrived at her home in Imperial Beach, California on April 18 to submit her tax return with a $676 money order enclosed, she was immediately panic-stricken because it had disappeared. With the hours ticking down until her money was due, she was at a loss over where it could have gone — eventually settling on the fact that it must have blown away.
“It flew away somehow,” Del Valle said. “I tore my car apart looking everywhere. I thought maybe I left it in the tax office, checking for it there. I was frantic.”
She went back to the store she had purchased it from and they told her it would be months before she would be able to have it replaced. That was time she did not have.
Wearied by how her day had gone so far, she was uneasy when later in the day someone was knocking at her door. Even more disconcerting was that he was asking for her by name through the locked screen door.
Standing there was a man who introduced himself as Sergio Juarez, and when he tried handing her a slip of paper she finally realized what this was about. He had her $676 money order in his hand and had come to return it to her!
Del Valle recalls, “I was a little startled because I didn’t know him. You don’t expect somebody to come to your door and hand deliver something to you.”
Taken aback by his integrity, Del Valle ran inside and grabbed $40 to give him as a reward. Initially, she said, “Take your wife to Denny’s.”
However, when he said he would instead be using that money on gas for his car she figured he and his family must be hurting financially. After a few minutes of conversation she learned he lived in a motel with his wife and three children.
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Knowing she needed to do more than give him a few dollars, Del Valle asked for a way to reach him. It was weighing heavily on her mind throughout the night.
“I couldn’t sleep all night thinking about what to do,” she said. “I couldn’t believe that a person in that situation would care to do something so nice when he doesn’t even have money for gas.”
Finally, she decided to start a GoFundMe page for Juarez and his family to both share the story of his kindness and to help him get back on his feet. Word quickly spread, and after the story was picked up on a local radio station, over $10,000 was raised after only a few days!
Currently, nearly $20,000 has been raised for the Juarez family in addition to the dozens of calls Del Valle has received with job offers for him. Once everything began pouring in, she called Juarez to let him know what she had done.
“His wife was in tears,” Del Valle said. “Their kids are smiling for the first time in months. I told him, ‘You don’t need to thank me…this is my thank you for you doing the right thing.’”
Just one more example of how contagious concern and kindness can be! What act-of-kindness avalanche could you start?
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