World class kindness from anonymous South Boston U.S. Veteran..."John" finds $5000 and returns it to a family from Vietnam.
Carolyn was right. It’s never too late for a good story.
This one came to her just before Christmas, and she’s been wanting to share it with the world ever since, or at least that portion of the world she grew up in down on Third, between G and H, in Southie.
“My brother’s not one to blow his own horn,” she said of her younger sibling, John, now 65, a retired Boston school teacher and a Vietnam veteran. “He’s not the kind who’d want to be in a newspaper.
“But what he did says so much about the family we were raised in, the Southie we were raised in. So that’s why I wrote to you.”
Carolyn, 73, was also right about her brother.
He does not like talking about himself. “I’d rather be anonymous,” John explains.
He continues to receive treatments at a VA hospital for skin cancers resulting from exposure to Agent Orange during his 16-month hitch in Vietnam, much of which was spent in Can Tho in the Mekong Delta.
He was returning from one of those treatments when he made a stop at National Wholesale Liquidators in Dorchester to purchase a windshield wiper. On his way out John noticed a cellphone case on the ground.
“Nobody saw me pick it up,” he said. “I brought it to my car, thinking there might be some identification in it. Instead I found 50 $100 bills. I knew somebody had to be heartsick, especially just before Christmas. So I went back into the store and told the manager I had found some money. I didn’t tell him how much; I just left my phone number, so that if someone came looking for it, they could properly identify what they had lost.
“Then I went home and an hour later my phone rang.”
The couple who’d lost the $5,000 had been saving a long time to come to America and had arrived just the day before, moving in with family in Dorchester.
They said they were from Vietnam.
“When I met them,” John recalled, “they hugged me so hard it hurt, because I had just undergone another treatment. Then they tried to give me a reward, but I said, ‘No, I can’t take your money.’ I was raised to believe we shouldn’t expect rewards for doing something right.