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Girl raises $40,000 on birthday for homeless man who returned her grandma’s wallet

The family raised money at Mikayla's birthday and then started a GoFundMe page to help the man get back on his feet.

Girl raises $40,000 on birthday for homeless man who returned her grandma’s wallet
Image source: GoFundMe

Mikayla Gounard, a 12-year-old girl, donated all of her birthday money to help a homeless man, who returned her grandmother's wallet. Mikayla Gounard's grandmother Evelyn Topper lost the wallet when they were out together. They believe Evelyn Topper is likely to have dropped the wallet while leaving a local coffee shop in San Rafael, California, reported The Washington Post. Topper realized what had happened only after they got home. Evelyn Topper was upset. She called up Kamson Coffee but they confirmed it wasn't there. She ransacked her home and car but couldn't find it. The wallet contained her credit, debit, and medical cards. 



Then something unexpected happened. A man called her number and told her he'd found her wallet in a dumpster behind the coffee shop. Barring cash, everything else was in there. Evelyn Topper couldn't believe her luck and started screaming in joy. She'd rushed to meet the homeless man, Sean Curry. He had been homeless for five years but he still had the heart to return the wallet. For Evelyn Topper, who's Jewish, getting her wallet back on the first night of Hanukkah was nothing short of a miracle. In Jewish tradition, to do a good deed without expecting anything in return was called a mitzvah. She explained to the man what it meant and that she was overjoyed. "You don’t know what this means to me to get this.’ Yes, it’s a physical thing, but it’s the act itself,” she told the man. Topper replied that it was the way he was "brought up."

Mikalya with Currey/YouTube

She immediately called up her daughter and granddaughter to tell them what had transpired. They were just as excited as Topper. Later that night, Mikayla Gounard told her grandmother that she wanted to donate her birthday money to the man who helped return the wallet. She had been planning to raise money for an organization for her birthday. She decided to pool all the money to help him and also sought money from her friends and family. Along with her mother, Vanessa Topper, she called up Sean Curry to ask if it'll ok for them to raise money for him at Mikayla’s drive-by birthday party on December 22. He was moved to tears by the gesture. “I felt very humbled and special that they would go out of their way to do that for me,” said Sean Curry. The family set up a small table on their driveway with Currey's photo alongside a money bowl.

He had been homeless for five years but the past few months had been harder as he caught pneumonia at the beginning of the pandemic and was hospitalized. Recently he had been living in his car.  Sean Curry said he had been struggling to get on his feet as he did odd jobs. He said life is hard when you don't have a place to go back to at the end of the day. “Not having shelter is not a good feeling at all,” said Curry. He revealed that seeing the credit cards in the wallet did tempt him for a moment. "Anybody in the position of being homeless and cold and tired and hungry, if they found a credit card, they’re going to think about it,” said Currey. It didn't feel right, so he called up Evelyn Topper to return the wallet. “I would rather be cold and hungry and know that I did the right thing,” said Currey.


Mikayla raised $44,799 (at the time of publishing) for Currey and the family said more people have been reaching out to see how they can help him. They gave the money to him the day after Mikayla. “I got to see him smile, and it made me really happy,” said Mikayla. Currey was overwhelmed with the help and said it was refreshing to see people as young as Mikayla wanted to help. He was happier that his good deed had encouraged someone else to do good.  They also created a GoFundMe to support him through the pandemic. 

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