Nobody expects an elementary school student to have a fully developed moral compass when it comes to coming across a pile of lost cash. Most kids live their life by the “finders keepers, losers weepers” rule.
But not fourth-grader Frankie Burns. The eight-year-old from upstate New York was in the Bronx, New York recently for a soccer tournament. While he was stretching out and getting ready before the game, he found a wallet.
This was his first test, and he immediately passed. “I see a wallet and I gave it to my dad,” Frankie told the New York CBS affiliate.
When his father opened the wallet, he and his son couldn’t believe what they found inside.
Frankie Burns found a wallet containing $1,700 while he was warming up for his soccer match.
“He opened it to see like whose it was, and he just sees a lot of hundred-dollar bills,” Frankie said of his father. There were 17 one-hundred dollar bills in there.
Frankie and his dad didn’t think of keeping the money for a second. The boy finished up his soccer game, and they used an ID in the wallet to track down the rightful owner.
“I didn’t earn the money,” Frankie said. “The other guy did from working.”
They were even more relieved to have done the right thing once they tracked the owner down. As it turns out, losing his wallet was only part of a string of bad luck.
They returned the wallet to its rightful owner: a man that had just been released from the hospital after being violently mugged.
The man who’d lost the wallet was the victim of an attempted mugging. He had been in the hospital for the last “four or five days” after being hit in the back of the head with a baseball bat.
He managed to keep his wallet away from the thieves—however, he must have dropped it some time after his head injury.
“He had stitches from the back of his neck to the top of his head,” said Frankie’s father, Frank Burns.
The victim of the mugging said he had intended to use the money to pay his rent. But without his wallet or the cash therein, he had to rely on a relative and friend to cover his rent that month.
Frank Burns is proud of his son who had one thing in mind upon finding the wallet: “Give it back to the owner.”
Frankie and his father would agree that doing the right thing is its own reward. But a little financial recompense is nice, too. The man who had his wallet returned was so grateful, he gave Frankie a finder’s fee.
“We just started talking and then out of nowhere, he went ‘I want to give you something,’ and he just pulled out $100,” Frankie said.
Frankie intends to use the money to buy himself a new pair of cleats. After everything was over, he had a simple message: “Do the right thing!” he says.