When a teen found a veteran’s lost wallet, which contained $2,300, he immediately returned it. A short time later, he received a text from his mother.
Tommy O’Connor, a senior at Irvington High School, was leaving a 7-Eleven in Fremont, California when he found himself in the middle of a “What would you do?” moment, according to The Mercury News. After buying a soda at the convenience store, the teen noticed a wallet on the ground as he was headed back to class at Irvington.
When he picked it up and looked inside, he saw $100 bills — lots of them. Although Tommy didn’t count the money at the time, it was later determined that the wallet contained $2,300 in cash. Staring at the wad of cash, Tommy was faced with a choice between attempting to return the wallet to its rightful owner or going on a shopping spree.
Luckily for one veteran, Tommy didn’t hesitate to make the right decision that fateful Tuesday. Doing the right thing was the only option — but, there was a problem. Tommy couldn’t find the name of the owner inside the wallet. But, he still wouldn’t consider pocketing the money.
Instead, Tommy took the wallet and cash to his paraeducator, Anna Gomez, at school. “He was so concerned about finding the wallet’s owner,” Gomez recalled. “No other option even occurred to him. He immediately knew what he had to do.”
“I didn’t count it when I saw it,” Tommy said. “I just thought it was probably someone’s rent or something,” he added. As Gomez went through the wallet, the pair discovered it contained 23 $100 dollar bills, but Tommy never considered doing anything but the right thing.
Eventually, a Veteran’s Identification Card was located in the wallet, revealing its owner’s name and that he was a military veteran. Tommy O’Connor and Anna Gomez consulted with Irvington Principal Sarah Smoot, who assisted in making contact with the vet to return the wallet.
After the wallet and money was returned, the unnamed but grateful owner confirmed that the cash was indeed for his rent and happily rewarded Tommy with $50. But, there’s so much more to Tommy’s story. And, his parents have every reason to be proud.
Tommy had a huge reason to be tempted by the cash. The day before finding the wallet, the teen, whose family lives paycheck to paycheck, didn’t even have money of his own for lunch. “With us living month-to-month, it is a big chunk of money and I’m so proud of him that he did that,” Ron O’Connor, Tommy’s father, told KPIX 5.