(CNN) Yesenia Del Valle was in a panic. One minute she was heading off to send a tax payment to the IRS.
The next she was frantically searching for the money order she’d planned to mail.
Del Valle remembers that next she “tore her car apart” looking for it. It wasn’t there.
She went back to the Imperial Beach, California, store where she bought the money order and was told it would take months for her to get her money back. And it was already April 18 — otherwise known as tax day. A disappointed Del Valle headed home to break the bad news to her husband.
An unexpected visitor
Later that night, she heard a knock at her front door. It was Sergio Juarez — and in his hand was the $676 money order she’d lost.
“I was a little startled because I didn’t know him. You don’t expect somebody to come to your door and hand deliver something to you,” she said. Juarez had found the money order under his car. Fortunately, Del Valle had signed and addressed it on the back.
When he showed up at her door she gave Juarez $40 for his honesty and kindness.
“Take your wife to Denny’s,” she told him.
But he said would use that $40 for gas.
Returning the favor
“When he said he was gonna use that money for gas. I knew he was strapped for cash,” Del Valle said. So she started asking more questions and Juarez told her he and his wife — along with 3 children — were living at a motel. Juarez told CNN affiliate KGTV that he and his wife had lost their jobs and had been struggling to make ends meet.
“He chose to find me and hand deliver that $676 when he doesn’t even have money for bare necessities,” Del Valle said. She felt that $40 wasn’t enough to thank Juarez and, the next day, created a GoFundMe account which to date has raised over $10,000.
Del Valle said Juarez now has received multiple job offers and she is working on a plan to help fund his oldest son’s college education when he graduates high school later this year.
“Don’t stop believing in miracles. You never know who is going to help you and who you are going to help in this world,” Del Valle said.