If you found a wallet so stuffed full of cash it wouldn’t close, what would you do? Would you return it to its rightful owner? This week, a woman from Stockton, California found herself in that exact situation. As much as she would have liked to keep the thousands of dollars of cash she found, she instead returned the lost wallet containing $4,000 in cash to the wallet’s owner.
Starla Beltran, an employee of Bagel Express Delicafe, found the wallet in the plaza parking lot near the bagel shop where she works earlier this week. ABC News stated that the bagel shop employee returned the wallet to its owner, who shed tears in relief at getting his money back, and from Starla Beltran’s honesty in returning the wallet with all of the cash still there.
— ABC News (@ABC) December 21, 2015
After Beltran discovered the wallet in the parking lot, which was so full of cash it couldn’t completely close, she admits her first thought was to take the money for herself. As much as she was tempted, however, that isn’t what she did.
Beltran explained to ABC News, “In my life right now, I’m kind of in a bad place and really struggling. My car is broken down, there’s some things with my son going on and I just lost my apartment.”
Though she wanted to use the money to alleviate some of her financial distress, she decided to do the right thing and return the wallet to whom it belonged. By pure coincidence, Beltran found the wallet’s owner lived down the street from her house.
“I slept on it, and the next day, I thought, what if it was me who lost that? When I looked at the ID in the wallet, I realized the address for the owner was right down the street from my house, so I went over there the next day.”
The owner of the wallet, Tony Sumahit, came to Beltran’s house to retrieve his belongings, and he “started tearing up,” according to Beltran.
— ABC15 Arizona (@abc15) December 19, 2015
Sumahit told ABC affiliate KXTV in Sacramento that he and his brother had worked late into the day and stopped at a sandwich shop to get something to eat. He said his wallet must have fallen out of his pocket at the plaza when he climbed back into his vehicle.
“I jumped in the car. That’s all I know,” Sumahit said.
He didn’t realize his wallet was missing until later. He said he had $4,000 in cash in the wallet because he was going to make a down payment on a car but had changed his mind about buying it.
“I just started taking everything apart. Went through the whole truck,” he said. “That night I barely slept. It was the worst night because of the holidays and all.”
Sumahit received a huge surprise when Starla Beltran got in touch with him to return his wallet.
“I was in shock. I told her, ‘You know, I don’t think I could have done it, what you did.'”
Sumahit gave Beltran $300 to thank her for returning his lost wallet.
“This is something money can’t buy, this type of happiness. If I kept the money and got a car or something, I definitely wouldn’t have the type of joy I have now. Since the day I gave it back, it’s just been so awesome and it’s great knowing someone’s not suffering anymore. Even when things aren’t going right, there’s always room to make right decisions.”
The bagel shop employee was thankful for the reward money but felt helping out a stranger was worth more to her than money. Keeping the money could not have given her the joy she now feels, she said.
[Image via Shutterstock]