“There’s still a lot of good people in the world,” said Yesenia Ortiz-Del Valle after her $676 cashier’s check was lost and then returned to her by a good Samaritan.
“Somehow, it flew away,” Ortiz-Del Valle said of the check she’d planned to use to pay state taxes. “I was going crazy. Literally, I went home and I was crying.”
Miraculously, Sergio Juarez found the check on the street. Juarez, who says he never considered taking the money, used the name and address on the check to return it.
“I was touched by his actions,” Ortiz-Del Valle said. “Sergio is a living example” that good people still exist.
“It’s not my money. It’s her money,” Juarez said about returning the money. “Whether it’s 25 cents or $4,000 … I don’t care what it is, it’s not your money.”
A grateful Ortiz-Del Valle offered Juarez a $40 reward, and he initially refused. Ortiz-Del Valle recalls that when he finally accepted it, “[h]e said to me, ‘I’m going to use this to put gas in my car.’”
She then asked where he lived. “He didn’t want to tell me,” she recalled. However, she found out later that Juarez was living in a nearby Motel 6 with his wife and children, and that both parents had lost their jobs.
“We’ve been homeless for over three years,” Juarez told local ABC affiliate KGTV. “There’s [sic] a lot of families that are going through what I’m going through: from living in Otay Ranch, nice area, beautiful park, to where you’re living in a hotel.”
So, Ortiz-Del Valle set up a GoFundMe page to benefit the Juarez family, and titled it, “We rise by lifting others.” On the page, she wrote, “Let’s help him get on his feet again! Even the smallest act of caring has the potential to turn a life around.”
In only five days, as of Tuesday afternoon, the campaign has generated $10,560 from 335 donors. With an initial goal of $5,000, the campaign has surpassed Ortiz-Del Valle’s expectations.
Comments on the campaign page are full of inspiring words and grateful expressions.
“You are truly awesome. Yes, I think this is a lifetime friendship. Sergio is a great person, too,” wrote donor Rain Simone Tarrant.
“Miracles do happen,” said Roque Ramos.
“I’m very honored to be able to help Sergio and his family. Earth angels are among us!” wrote Yanira Ortiz-Stevers.
Ortiz-Del Valle’s Facebook page (below) is full of information about the story and the GoFundMe campaign.
Juarez’s wife, Gladys, used the platform to thank everyone.
“I want to Thank God first for his faithfulness and for what he is doing for us. I also want to thank Ysenia and every single person for their generosity, their encouraging words and their prayers!!” She writes. “If anyone is going through difficult times i just want to encourage you not to give up and seek God because he will help you just like he is helping us through this difficult journey. THANK YOU is such a small word for the gratitude in my heart towards everyone who has donated. THANK YOU!!!! And God bless everyone ☺”.
In response to questions about donations of clothes to the family, Ortiz-Del Valle posted their sizes.
For his part, on Saturday, Juarez shared some advice for others who are going through tough times in a video posted on the Facebook page.
“Just keep your family together and just keep going. Take one day at a time, that’s what I do,” Juarez said, noting that his wife, family, and belief in Jesus keep him going.
He also thanked Ortiz-Del Valle, donors and well-wishers, and promised to pray for every person who donated to the fundraiser.
H/T: The New York Post
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