Imagine you’re a kid, just hanging out at soccer practice, and suddenly, you stumble upon more money than you’ve ever seen in your life. You might not be too quick to track down the owner.
But that’s what happened to a fourth grader from Orange County, New York, this week, who proved that it’s always best to do the right thing—especially when you don’t know the full story.
Frankie Burns was on the road with his soccer and Gaelic football team, traveling from Washingtonville to a game in the Bronx.
When they arrived in the Woodlawn neighborhood, the team pulled over on a residential street to unload their gear.
Frankie and some of his teammates sat on a low wall to put on their cleats.
It was then that Frankie made an unexpected discovery. He saw something behind the wall.
It was a wallet.
When he realized what was in the wallet, he knew it was a big deal.
“I see a wallet and I gave it to my dad,” Frankie recalled to CBS2. “He opened it to see like whose it was.
“And he just sees like a lot of hundred-dollar bills.”
They counted the bills, and were stunned by how much cash was inside:
But while many kids would’ve tried to keep that money, it never even crossed Frankie’s mind. He knew they had to find the owner and return it.
“I didn’t earn the money,” he said. “The other guy did from working.”
Frankie said he wanted to “do the right thing,” and his dad used a dental ID card found in the wallet to track down the owner.
But when he found out the tragic story of how the owner lost the wallet, he knew for sure he made the right decision.
Frankie and his father met the man face-to-face to return his money. The man revealed he had lost it after he was violently mugged, and had just spent five days in the hospital.
“He was mugged the previous Saturday because he got hit in the back of the head with a baseball bat, so he had stitches from the back of his neck to the top of his head,” Frankie’s dad recalled to CBS2.
The man had managed to keep the cash-filled wallet from the mugger, but lost it when he was rushed to the hospital.
He thought the money was gone for good, which was a crushing blow—that cash was to be used to pay his rent.
“His brother and his friend had to pay for his rent while he was in the hospital,” the 8-year-old recalled.
The man was so happy to have his rent money back, and so moved that this child had the integrity to return it, that he knew he had to reward Frankie somehow.
“We just started talking and then out of nowhere, he went, ‘I want to you to give you something,’ and he just pulled out $100,” Frankie recalled.
Frankie was thrilled to receive the money—he said it would go towards buying a new pair of soccer cleats, fittingly enough—but he knows that the real reward is doing the right thing, and knowing he saved a victim from further hardship.