William Goodrich rides a Hart bus for two hours to get to his job as a painter.
He makes $8 an hour and has a diet of mostly peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He's been saving for months, and finally had enough money for a down payment on a home.
Goodrich cashed checks this week and rode the bus to a room he rents in Tampa. But then he discovered, his wallet -- with the more than two thousand dollars he had saved -- missing.
He'd left it on the bus.
"I said, "God, what have I done to deserve this?" Goodrich said. "And He said, "Just wait."
Goodrich called the bus station right away but wasn't surprised to hear that no one had turned in the wallet. He thought it was gone forever, and his Christmas holiday ruined.
"I was at the bottom of a hole, and was like, I've gotta start all over again, and I didn't know where I was going to find the strength to do it."
Little did he know, the bus driver, Wilfredo De La Paz, found it on a seat, the cash bulging out.
"There were still people exiting the bus as I saw the wallet, which is amazing that no one saw it, and picked it up," De La Paz said.
De La Paz says he's shocked no one else noticed the wallet. He fears some others would have taken the money. He says he quickly dismissed thoughts of keeping the cash himself.
"Temptation is always there, but my mother and father raised me different. Of course, that's where the conversation with god comes in. But it was an easy decision. I wouldn't have taken it."
Especially when he recognized Goodrich's photo inside.
Goodrich says he can't wait until de la Paz drives his route again. He has only one thing to say.
"Thank you," Goodrich said. "What more can you say? from the bottom of my heart. The greatest thank you that I can give."
200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606
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