Wednesday, April 26, 2017
What would you do with $7,000?
“I’d take a vacation – bring my friends – probably the Bahamas,” said Mercyhurst University public health major Hannah Somich of Perry, Ohio.
“Me, too. Somewhere warm, where I’ve never been,” added Maddy Atendido, a Buffalo native and hospitality management major.
“I would definitely save most of it to help pay off my student loans,” said public health major Carley Dodd of Rochester.
The three seniors, who will graduate in May, had the opportunity to contemplate the question when they discovered a wallet on the sidewalk near the apartment they share at E. 38th and Parade Street Boulevard. The wallet contained $7,000, a social security card, Veterans Administration ID and more.
Maddy and Hannah remember the day well. They were walking home from the Mercyhurst Athletic Center; it was warm and sunny. They saw the wallet on the sidewalk and could tell from the thickness that it was full of something. They picked it up and soon realized they were holding hundreds of dollars; maybe even thousands.
As they tried to identify the owner from the wallet’s contents, they happened upon Carley, who took one look at the ID and recognized the man as a neighbor several doors down.
Jokes about vacations and student debt aside, the Mercyhurst seniors said the idea of keeping the money never crossed their minds. Instead, they were actually concerned for their neighbor’s well-being and went directly to his house to return the wallet.
“He was so excited to get the wallet back; he was clasping at the cross around his neck,” said Hannah.
Later the man, who preferred to remain anonymous, called the President’s Office and relayed the story to administrative assistant Stacey Wiley.
“He told me he had just received his tax refund; he didn’t usually carry around $7,000 in cash,” Wiley said. “When he opened his front door, his dog ran out and he went chasing after him. He didn’t realize until later that he had lost his wallet.”
When Hannah and Maddy showed up at his door with the wallet, he was gratified that it had found its way into the hands of honest people. He called Mercyhurst to make sure the university knew of their students’ good deed.
Later that week, the man and his three small children visited Maddy, Hannah and Carley at their apartment and presented them with drawings the children had done, including one that said: “Thank you for what you did for our family.”
That, they agreed, was a very special reward.