A customer who was vacationing in a coastal town in North Carolina found herself in a bind last month: She was scheduled to fly back to New Mexico the next day, but her wallet was missing. Fortunately, she knew exactly where she’d lost it, and it turned out she couldn’t have lost it in a better place: A bar in Wrightsville Beach.
Fortunate why? Because the owner of the bar, Jimmy’s, is a kind-hearted and compassionate man named Jimmy Gilleece, who took on the woman’s mission as his own, going above and beyond to help her find her wallet.
But the money was beside the point. It was the $10,000 wedding ring she’d stuck inside that she was so desperate to get back.
“She had lost her wallet with her ring in it. And she had to fly out the next day and her wedding ring was in there. So she was just frantic, didn’t really care about the money in it or anything else.”
After watching three hours of CCTV footage taken outside the bar from several different cameras, Jimmy came across the incriminating scene:
A young man, wearing tan trousers and a dark hoodie that hid his face, approached the bench outside the bar – and spotted the wallet.
Jimmy eventually identified the thief as 17-year-old Rivers Prather. He realized the boy was homeless at the time and living in a nearby park – in 30-degree weather.
Prather hadn’t had anything to eat for a couple days when he discovered the wallet, so he took the money and tossed the rest off the docks and into the water – wedding ring and all.
The boy had made a bad decision, this was true, but Jimmy actually took the time to listen to Rivers’s plight, and as he did, his sense of compassion kicked in.
Jimmy’s first wanted to get his customer’s ring back to her, so he hired divers to come the next day. Then River’s offered to throw a stone in the river right where he had thrown the wallet to help them figure out the area it could be in.
The two divers scoured the floor of the river and resurfaced with a soggy, but intact wallet.
Now would’ve been the time when most people would’ve called the police and reported the theft. But Jimmy wanted to do more. He didn’t want this young man to be arrested, and after reuniting the woman with her ring, he convinced her to drop the charges.
In another incredible turn of events, Jimmy couldn’t let the boy continue to live on the streets. So he brought him in his own home so that his family could help care for him. Rivers is now living with Jimmy and working two jobs so he can get his life back together. He even recently earned his GED!
Since the story went viral, Rivers’s father, Rich, has reconciled with his son. He was forever grateful for the kindness that Jimmy had given his son.
“I’m grateful for the opportunities in store for my son and I’m forever grateful for Jimmy, his family, and the community at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina that have embraced Rivers.”
To this day, Rivers has continued to live with Jimmy and is happy and loving life. And it was all thanks to one man’s act of kindness.
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