wallet being handed from one person to another

Teenager Returns Lost Wallet To Veteran, Only To Get A Text Message From His Mother Afterwards

A Secret Life of Mom Highlight Story: Sometimes there are tales that are just too good, too beautiful, or too unbelievable to keep locked away. That’s why we scour the archives and bring some of them back to enjoy again. They may make you smile or shed a tear, but they’re always meant to add a little positivity to your day. Enjoy! 


Sometimes the simplest acts of kindness can turn out to be the most rewarding. This 2015 story of a teenager still stands testament to the goodness in our hearts. It is a simple story – a teenager returns a lost wallet. But that simple deed was very special for a veteran.

Suppose you are going about your day when you find a wallet on the ground. It is not empty. Rather, it has a couple of thousands in cash. What would you do? Leave it untouched and try to return it to its owner? Or just claim it as yours, because returning it can be too much of a hassle. However, for one Californian teenager, the decision was easy.


The Teenager’s Good Deed

Tommy O’Connor, a senior at Irvington High School, was enjoying his lunch break. It was just another day at school. He had gone to the store and had bought a soda. That’s when he chanced upon a wallet. Tommy picked it up without giving it a second look.


When he looked inside, he saw a few hundred dollar bills – 23 of them to be exact. He knew it was quite a lot, so the teenager thought it was something important. He said in an interview[1]:

“I didn’t count it when I saw it. I just thought it was probably someone’s rent or something.”

Tommy’s family had to live on a fixed income. Even the day before, Tommy did not have enough money to buy lunch. That amount of money could have helped out his family a lot. But the teenager immediately handed it over to Ana Gomez, his paraeducator.

Tommy O'Connor, the teenager
Image Credits: CBS San Francisco

Gomez searched through the wallet to find the identity of the owner. She counted the total amount of cash and also found an ID card of a veteran. She then handed the wallet to the principal of the school, Sarah Smoot. Together, they returned the wallet intact to its owner.

Read: High school principal works overnight at Walmart to help students in need

Grateful Parents

It did not take long for Tommy’s good work to travel. In fact, the school had informed his mother, Sherry, directly through an SMS about the teenager’s actions. As such, she sent a text to her son before the school was over for the day:

I’m very proud of you son. Ms. Kalra called me. Wow, your [sic] one in a million. Love you to the moon and back.

Tommy’s father Ron had similar praise for the teenager’s kindness:

With us living month-to-month, it is a big chunk of money and I’m so proud of him that he did that. I’m just proud that he did the right thing, and hopefully, all of my children would’ve done the same thing

Tommy with his mom Sherry
Image Credits: CBS San Francisco

But Tommy could not sit still. His mother said that the teenager kept worrying whether the owner would get back the wallet, otherwise they might not be able to pay rent.

It turned out that he was correct about it being rent money. In fact, the veteran was so grateful for the teenager’s kindness, that he left him a $50 reward. But Tommy remained ever humble. He replied to his mother that she should be thanking herself for raising him. About his actions, Tommy said:

I’m just doing something I wish everyone else would do.”

If stories like this do not inspire us to do the same, we don’t know what will. We hope Tommy has been happy and well for the past 5 years. On our part, let’s strive to maintain the same integrity in our lives that the teenager showed.  


Keep Reading: Cop Busts Mom For Stealing Groceries But Sees Her 3 Adopted Kids Are Starving And Changes Mind


Source List:


1. “Fremont Teen Returns Wallet With $2,300 In Cash” KPIX. September 14, 2015.