Ripple Reader Bebo Andrews shared this story from San Rafael, California where Sean Curry, 57, was experiencing homelessness. As he sifted through a dumpster behind a coffee shop, he found a small, floral-patterned wallet packed with credit cards and the driver’s license of 80-year-old Evelyn Topper. Sean decided to do the right thing and called Evelyn to say that he had found her wallet.

Evelyn, who had been distraught over losing her wallet after she visited the coffee shop, immediately got in her car and drove to meet Sean. As they talked, Evelyn learned about Sean’s story—he usually worked construction but had gotten pneumonia at the start of the pandemic and was hospitalized. After recovering, he was able to stay in subsidized housing for several months, but he eventually lost that. For several months up until finding Evelyn’s wallet, Sean had been living out of his car.

Upon finding Evelyn's wallet, Sean briefly thought about using her credit cards. As he later related to the Washington Post, Sean said, “I can’t say that I didn’t think about it (using the credit cards), but only for a second. Anybody in the position of being homeless and cold and tired and hungry…they’re going to think about it…(but) I would rather be cold and hungry and know that I did the right thing.”

Sean’s kindness prompted Evelyn’s granddaughter, Mikayla, who was about to turn twelve, to ask for contributions to support Sean in lieu of birthday presents. As a result, Mikayla raised $475 for Sean.

The WP story passingly references that Mikayla’s mother had created a GoFundMe page to help out Sean; however, that’s where the piece ended—there was nothing about the success of the GoFundMe. Because I was curious, I searched GoFundMe and found that incredibly, as of January 19th, $52,147 had been raised for Sean from 1400 people, with the ultimate goal of raising $75K to help Sean get back on his feet. Wow!

As he reflected on what his act of kindness had in return brought him, Sean said, “I believe I have a good heart. Maybe, if I keep doing the right thing, more people will too, and it will change the world, in a small way, for the better.”

Doing the right thing. Acting with kindness. Generosity of spirit and time. Such basic core values that are so important to a healthy, vibrant society. May this story help all of us to remember those values!