Most people may not concern themselves with a stranger’s stolen wallet – especially if the wallet in question was thrown into the ocean. But Jimmy Gilleece was determined to help his distressed customer; and his mission to find the wallet ended up changing his life.
Gilleece, who owns a bar in Wrightsville, North Carolina, was approached last month by a female customer who was frantic over her lost wallet. Not only did the wallet contain her ID and cards, but it also contained her wedding ring.
Gilleece started his search for the lost treasure by watching hours and hours of security footage in the bar. After reviewing several different cameras around the bar, he finally saw the wallet sitting on a bench outside. The camera also showed a hooded stranger pocketing the wallet.
The bartender eventually discovered the identity of the thief: 17-year-old River Prathers.
Gilleece confronted the youngster, who said that he had taken the money out of the wallet and thrown it into the sea from a nearby pier.
Gilleece then hired two divers to scour the shore for any sign of the wallet. Finally, one of the divers uncovered a waterlogged wallet with a wedding ring safely tucked inside.
Overwhelmed by the success of their mission, Gilleece then decided to help one more person: the teen who had felt compelled to steal the wallet in the first place.
Rivers had been homeless since he had become estranged from his mother.
“He was living in the woods, and this is when it was 30 degrees outside, and he hadn’t eaten in two days,” Gilleece told CBS. “I could tell he wasn’t a criminal. He was just somebody who needed a little help.”
Instead of turning the security footage over to the police, Gilleece invited Rivers to live with him – and the teen has been a part of the family ever since.
Rivers is now working two jobs and has high hopes for the future – and it’s all thanks to his compassionate benefactor.
“I say thank you to him every day,” Rivers said. “I’d do anything for him.”
(WATCH the video below – or our international viewers can watch the video on the CBS News website)
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