A car wash employee in North Carolina found a $1,200 stimulus check in the garbage—and made sure it got back to its rightful owner.
Antonio Hernandez was taking out the trash at Evans Street Car Wash in Greenville when he spotted the check as well as a bill with the recipient’s address, his daughter Michelle Alvarado said.
Alvarado said her father asked for her help in locating Charles Thompson, the recipient of the check, and was keen to get the check to him as soon as possible.
“My dad was headed to his next job when he showed me it and so me and my mom were in charge of trying to find this man,” she said.
Alvarado said she and her mom tried to get in touch with Thompson on social media and visited the apartment on the bill and left a note with their phone number on it, but when they got a call back, it was from the tenant who moved in after Thompson left.
“He told me in the phone call that he must’ve accidentally thrown [Thompson’s] check away but he never had seen it was a check,” Alvarado said. “He told me that it was amazing that my dad found it and that there are not many people that would do such thing.”
Eventually, Thompson’s girlfriend responded on social media and Alvarado managed to get the check to him.
“We were so happy,” Alvarado said. “We returned the check the next day around 7 a.m. and Charles was so grateful.”
Thompson, meanwhile, told WITN-TV that he had assumed he wouldn’t get a stimulus check since he had moved recently and not updated his address. But he said the money was much needed and couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I was behind on rent, I work construction so I work by the day, and I just try to keep going and going as best I can and that money helped put me ahead and put me on the right track a little bit, to get back on my feet,” Thompson, an Army veteran, told the news station.
He added that it was a miracle that the check managed to get to him in the end.
“From my old apartment, to the trash can, to a great person like Michelle Alvarado and her father finding it and Michelle doing the leg work to find me, I mean, what else do you call that?” he said.
Millions of Americans have now received stimulus checks from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as part of the government’s $2.2 trillion CARES Act to provide financial relief for Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But Alvarado, 20, told Newsweek that her 52-year-old father didn’t receive a stimulus check and has since set up a GoFundMe page to support him. He’s the sole breadwinner for their family and works three part-time jobs to make ends meet after her parents were involved in a car accident two years ago, she said.
“Ever since then my mom has been unable to work and suffers from inflammation and pain everyday,” Alvarado wrote on the page. “Working from sunrise to sundown is also taking its toll on my dad.”
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