When Justin Terrell returned a wallet he had found in a North Carolina parking lot, he didn’t expect to receive anything in return for his good deed. But, what the good Samaritan received instead weeks later broke his heart: an apology letter from the wallet owner’s recent widow and $50 for his act of kindness.
Terrell is currently a student at Guilford Technical Community College and interns at a food manufacturing company in Greensboro, N.C. He stopped by at a local grocery store on his way home from work one day when he found a wallet next to his car.
After waiting for about 15 minutes for the owner to return, Terrell decided to see if he could find the owner on his own. Terrell told High Point, N.C., news station WGHP, he didn’t “feel right” if he just left the wallet at the grocery store.
"I looked through it," Terrell told WGHP. "I found the driver's license and the address — and here we go. A new adventure."
It turns out the owner of the wallet lived about 10 minutes away. So, Terrell took it upon himself to ensure the wallet was back in the right hands.
When Terrell delivered the wallet to its rightful owner by hand, the man thanked him and the pair exchanged addresses. Although the man offered a reward, Terrell turned it down.
"My grandfather taught me to always be kind to people," Terrell said. "I never really thought anything of it."
Weeks later, a letter addressed to the North Carolina college student unexpectedly arrived in the mail from an address he didn’t recognize. When he read the letter, Terrell discovered it was from the wife of the wallet owner, Peaches. The two had briefly met when Terrell drove to their home to return the missing item.
“He had asked me to send you $50 for your kindness and honesty,” the letter read. “I'm very sorry it took me so long. Unfortunately my husband passed away suddenly and in the middle of everything, I simply forgot.”
Terrell’s family had no idea about his good deed until the letter arrived in the mail. But, his loved ones weren’t surprised to hear the news.
"He's always been a nurturing person," Kendra Royster, a close family friend that has known Terrell since kindergarten told WGHP. "He would always check on his mom. I would see pictures of him making food runs during the snow.”
Terrell says he was touched by the brief note and plans on keeping it.
"I was surprised and grateful. At the same time, saddened that he passed away," Terrell said.
Although the news of the wallet owner’s untimely death was disheartening, Terrell says he is glad he was able to return a memento of the late father and husband to his family.
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