It’s in our toughest times where our morals are tested. Whatever the circumstances of your life may be, doing the honorable thing is always an option.
In 2015, high school senior Tommy O’Connor and his family weren’t in the best situation financially. The Fremont, California, family was struggling as they were living on a fixed income. There were even times where Tommy could not afford to buy a school lunch for himself and his brother. The family was just getting by.
One day while the teen was walking to a nearby convenience store to get some soda for himself and his brother, something on the ground caught his eye.
It was a wallet.
Tommy picked up the wallet, and noticed that it was full of cash—about $2,300, to be exact.
The student had inexplicably come across this wallet with more money in it than most teenagers have ever seen. He didn’t even have to count it to know it was a lot of money, as it was nothing but hundred dollar bills. His first thought was that it was someone’s rent money.
There was any number of things he could’ve done with the wallet. It was only the day before when Tommy didn’t have money to get himself a school lunch. A bunch of hundred dollar bills would give Tommy more than a school lunch.
Instead of taking it for himself, Tommy turned the wallet in to a teacher’s assistant as soon as he could.
Even in his situation, he knew the right thing to do was to turn in the wallet.
“I was just doing something I wish everyone else would do,” Tommy told LOCAL 12 News.
The senior recognized that small gestures of selflessness like that are what will change the world.
He didn’t let his financial circumstances at the time cloud his judgement; he didn’t want to have someone else struggle just so he wouldn’t.
Given where he was coming from, it could have been considerably difficult to go against the urge to keep it. But it didn’t even occur to him not to return the wallet.
His parents were proud of him, like any parents would be knowing their son did the right thing instead of being greedy. His mom called him “one in a million” for his actions that day.
The wallet had belonged to a veteran, who got back his wallet and ended up giving Tommy $50 as a reward.
Situations like these determine who we are as people. That could’ve been a millionaire’s wallet, or someone’s entire life savings, and Tommy wouldn’t have known the difference.
But instead, he went the righteous route and returned money that wasn’t his. You can’t put a value on someone with a good heart.