December 25, 2019
Los Angeles, California
Drove out to Pasadena this morning to meet and have Xmas Brunch with two of my longtime friends, Carole and Ron. I arrived at the Mexican Restaurant El Torito a few minutes late, parked my car, and met them inside. Great buffet and conversation and after almost two hours of feasting (I always overdo it with buffets), we walked out the front door to the parking lot.
Standing just outside the door was a 6-4 homeless man I’d guess to be about 30. He looked at me and said, “Is your name Steven?” Surprised that he knew my name, I answered, “Yes it is.” The man reached into his pocket and handed me an object. I reached for it and realized–it was my wallet!
I looked at him and he pointed as he responded, “I found it over there on the ground.”
I opened it and quickly checking the contents I saw it still contained my driver’s license, social security card, credit cards and $150.00 in cash.
I thanked him, shook his hand, gave him an unsolicited “finder’s fee” to reward his honesty and walked to my car.
One of the best Xmas presents I’ve ever received–a renewal of my faith that there are honest people in this world. I asked myself, “How long had he been standing there? Two hours or ten minutes? Clearly, a man in serious need who probably didn’t have more than a few dollars in his pocket? How easy it would have been to just take out the cash, leave the wallet on the ground and move on? No one would know.
But, no. This was an honest man, a proud man; who despite the hardships he was experiencing in life would not give in to temptation and would do what was right. He would be true to himself and to a complete stranger.
Yes, Virginia, there is a real Santa Claus and he’s homeless and walking the streets of Pasadena with his head held high.