Homeless Man Returns Stranger’s Lost Check Instead of Keeping It – Their Conversation Was About to Change His Life

On the surface, it was a simple enough question.

For Yesenia Ortiz-Del Valle, it was small talk to end a crazy day that started with a knock at her door. Oh, but when she heard the reply, it was clear that her wild story was just getting warmed up.

A Strange Man Knocks at Her Door

Photo by Emmanuel Codden

Per the San Diego Union-Tribune, just moments before that knock at her door, Valle had been in full-blown panic mode. She was looking for it all over, but it was gone, vanished, and it wasn’t cheap. ‘It’ was a $676 cashier’s check for her taxes owed.

She must have lost it somewhere between her tax preparer’s office and the post office. At that moment, she got a visit she wouldn’t forget.

His name was Sergio Juarez. After almost tossing what he thought was a paper, Juarez saw the check and it had Valle’s address on it. And so, guided by good, he went to return it to its rightful owner.

A grateful Valle offered Juarez $40 for his troubles. After refusing at first, he said that he would use the money to fill up his gas tank. That’s when Valle asked him the casual question of where he lived.

A Good Samaritan’s Sad Story

"Motel" sign

Photo by Nicolas Cool

A hesitant Juarez told Valle that his family had been homeless since he and his wife had lost their jobs three years ago. He was living out of a Motel 6 with her and their kids.

With the motivation to help, Valle went right to work.

She first set up a GoFundMe account titled ‘We Rise by Lifting Others.’ In it, she wrote a moving call to action.

“Theres still a lot of good people in the world and Sergio is a living example. Let’s help him get on his feet again! Even the smallest act of caring has the potential to turn a life around.”

She then shared Juarez’s story to the local radio airwaves to drum up support for the family. You might say that the response broke the bank.

The campaign was beyond a success, raising almost $20,000 on a goal of $5,000. That should surely help Juarez and his family get out of the motel and back on their feet.

How One Man Proves That No Good Deed Goes Unpaid

With a future he and his family can now look forward to, Juarez is humbled.

“We are grateful. Words are not enough from us and thank you so much San Diego, for your heart, thank you so much for everything and your prayers,” he said. He added that once he’s back on his feet, he intends to pay the kindness forward.

“That day, he was my miracle. And then I ended up being his miracle,” Valle said. 

This is such a great tale about perspective. In moments, Valle’s lost check was nothing compared to the very real crisis Sergio Juarez and his family was in. You can bet he would swap places with her faster than a motel checkout.

It all started with a man who was guided by values, despite his hard times. He did right for right’s sake, and the world paid him back in spades. With faith as fuel and morals as motivation, great things can happen when you least expect it.

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