Local passes Good Samaritan gift forward

Missing wallet turns up with note, $200 cash

After realizing his leather wallet had slipped out of his pocket during a trip to the Starbucks in Sharon Heights in Menlo Park, Dr. Julian Gomez figured it was gone for good.

"I searched all over. I was thinking about calling the credit card companies to cancel," he said, adding that a few "unprintable" expletives ran through his mind.

Though empty of cash (he had been about to visit the credit union), the wallet contained his driver's license and other essentials, leaving him in a tight spot.

When Gomez dejectedly returned to his Midtown Palo Alto home, however, he found a heart-warming surprise: his wallet had been returned, along with $200 cash and an anonymous note.

"Found September X, 2011

Starbucks, Sharon Heights shopping center

Empty of cash, alas; but I had some good fortune lately and this seemed a good opportunity to share it," the note read.

"It was such a shocker. I am in awe," he said, that someone would not only take the time to drive the wallet all the way to his home but offer the extra cash to boot.

Gomez conferred with his two teen children and decided to donate the windfall to local charities.

"I said, 'We don't really need this; we have a moral obligation to give it to someone who does need it,'" he said.

They settled on Save the Bay and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, donating $100 to each.

"Thank you very much for the effort in bringing my wallet back to me, that was such a kindhearted effort," Gomez said he'd like to tell his Good Samaritan.

"And thank you for the thought of giving me some cash to get by. I made sure to spend it forward in the same kind of spirit," he said.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 17, 2011 at 10:43 am

How nice to finally read an unfortunate incident with a happy ending. We not only have one thoughtful and caring person involved, but four! So glad this individual brought his kids into the decision. What a beautiful lesson.

Now, if each one of us can provide a single 'random act of kindness', just think where we'd be. Let's keep moving in the right direction....

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Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2011 at 10:59 am

A little teary here. I've had good people keep me safe in various forms over the years, but this takes it to the next level and is very moving. Well worth sharing this story... so I'm paying it forward through a posting on Facebook.

Like this comment
Posted by Barbara
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2011 at 11:15 am

Thanks for sharing this heart-warming story. We need more news like this. Thanks to the gentleman also for involving his two teen children in the decision making process for a charitable donation. Having a parent who helps his children build character through acts of kindness will serve the children well.

Like this comment
Posted by Carla Posthauer
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 17, 2011 at 11:29 am

A woman named Carolee Hazard in Menlo Park helped a woman at Trader Joes, who was at the check out and forgot her wallet, by paying her bill for her. The woman repaid Carolee with $93 extra...which Carolee decided to donate to Second Harvest Food Bank. But others also decided to donate 93 dollars, and some friends had their kids donate 93 cents. Long story short, a facebook page was started, the 93 dollar club was born, and the one act of paying it forward has generated over 100k in donations to charity.

This is a situation like that! In the spirit of recognizing a random act of kindness, I will donate $50 to each of the charities chosen by the recipient who also chose not to keep the $200. (sorry it is not matching!;) )

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Posted by Carla P.
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 17, 2011 at 11:58 am

just did the donations to Save the Bay and LPCH (foundation)... in honor of Dr. Julian Gomez. Didn't know the other's name. Thank you both for fostering such good will.

Like this comment
Posted by Cautious
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 17, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Hate to be a wet blanket on this, but how can he be sure the finder hasn't creamed all the cr. card info, address, etc. etc. and the windfall spoken about wasn't this info? The $200 may just be a ploy to prevent the cards reported as missing so that the finder can start using the cards big time and get back the $200 easily.

As I say, I hate to be a spoil sport, but has this been checked out? There is an old saying that when something seems to be too good to be true, it usually is.

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Posted by CLH
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 17, 2011 at 1:04 pm

The 93 Dollar Club was a terrific coming together of many people giving a little and the end result had a big impact! I happily follow Carla's lead and will also donate $50 to each organization!

A good idea to confirm credit cards are safe, but I still feel wonderfully uplifted by the original $200 being donated and Carla's adding her gift!

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Posted by Julian
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 17, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Hi Cautious,
I'm cautious, too. I did check earlier, and - nothing. This person was actually as nice as they appear.

Like this comment
Posted by Bike Commuter
a resident of Ventura
on Nov 17, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Lovely story!

I lost my bag (containing my wallet, checkbook and many other important items) when it fell off my bike rack into the street and I didn't notice it until I got to work.

The kind person who found my bag was another bike commuter and he promptly called to let me know he had it.

After reuniting with my precious bag I honored my hero by donating to Second Harvest Food bank in his name. Avoiding the DMV was priceless!

Like this comment
Posted by ClarenceBoddicker
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2011 at 1:45 pm

I lost wallet my at Stanford. It had 12 crisp $100 bills tucked inside. I asked one of the Stanford sheriff's if any honest student had turned it in, he rolled his eyes, laughed and said "good luck". He said he call me if it turned up. I never did recieve a call.

I am glad things turned out well for Julian.

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Posted by Elisabeth
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 17, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Wonderful account! It just so happened that in my Life Stories class today, someone read her account of a lost item having been returned to her. That led to several others of us telling similar stories. Does the bad news and the bad actions get the greater publicity because the good Samaritans are really in the majority and because that is how we expect that we and others should and do behave?

Like this comment
Posted by Watcher
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 18, 2011 at 10:40 am

I'm curious how the media got wind of this happening?

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Posted by Rich from redwood
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Like Watcher said, how does the media know about this? Was the Julian do happy he called the media.. Get a life... And cautious that's very smart ... U never know what's gunna happen you always have to expect the unexpected

Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 22, 2011 at 5:30 am

A few years ago I found a wallet in P.A. in the parking lot behind CVS. I had no cell phone, so used a pay phone to leave a message for the man, telling him I would leave it with the Palo Alto police. In my running around doing this I lost a treasured gold starfish earring, and later learned I had been billed $24 for the phone call. Oh well!

I found another wallet in the Stanford shopping center parking lot near Macy's and left it with the mall police. (ClarenceBoddicker, it was a woman's, just in case you are wondering!)

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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