It was a PayPal mistake
When you’re struggling to get by and have a young mouth to feed, it’s easier to rationalize the choices you make to get through the day. But for Gerrell McAllister, a 28-year-old father of a 5-year-old daughter, who lives in Tacoma, Washington, his struggles gave him a more important reason to do what was right. It all started when he woke up one morning to a PayPal alert that said, “You’ve got money” to which McAllister thought, You’ve got jokes, he told BuzzFeed.
When McAllister looked in his account, he noticed he had received $1,200, a large sum of money for a young man who works as a cashier in a pet food store. After analyzing the transaction, he realized the money was from a man named Alan who had previously sent him $55 by accident, which he also had returned. Alan had mistakenly sent the money to his daughter, Melissa Trusler, on her old phone number—a number that had since been given to McAllister. The money was a birthday gift to help her pay for a couch.
Although McAllister needed the money, he sent it back immediately as a tribute to his recently deceased mother. “Returning the money was instinctive because of the values my mom instilled in me,” he told BuzzFeed. “I’m trying to be the best person and provide the best example for my daughter.” He returned the money along with a note that read, “Returning the money hurts, but it’s the right thing to do. Tell her I said happy birthday! I’ll try to fix the problem on my end so it doesn’t happen again. Take care.”
When Trusler’s father told her about the act of generosity, she sent a thank-you note to McAllister who responded with this:
You’re so very welcome! But if you could tell your family and friends that a low income 28 year old Black man from Tacoma with a 5 year old daughter returned your money, I would find that helpful in improving race relations while reaffirming the dope ass culture we as Western Washingtonians have worked so hard to cultivate. And that, in turn, would help me to stop kicking myself in the ass for remaining morally sound through the tough times my family and I are experiencing at the moment, lol. In short, share the story, spread the love. Thank you.
Trusler was so moved by his letter, she posted about it on Facebook:
After the post, something incredible happened, Trusler’s friends began sending McAllister money to help him with expenses and to thank him for his generosity.
Although McAllister appreciates the money, the kind words from strangers have been “therapeutic after the loss our family has gone through.” He doesn’t want the money to overshadow the sentiments, so he hasn’t checked his PayPal balance since it began rolling in. “To be honest, I haven’t checked my PayPal since that day,” he said. “I want to try to message everyone back individually to say ‘thank you.’” Now that the story has spread across social media, he hopes it inspires people to “engage with someone you come in contact with, you never know what they’re dealing with.”