A single father and disabled Persian Gulf War veteran, Theodore Walker could have put to good use the $357 he found inside a purse in the roadway.
“Sure, it would have just about doubled my savings,” said 43-year-old Walker with a laugh. “But I never gave that a thought.”
Walker was driving on Joe Walker Road near his mother's home Sunday when he saw a black purse in the roadway.
Jokingly saying he was only being nosy, Walker got out and retrieved the purse.
“I noticed a name on a bank statement,” Walker said. “Then I looked further and saw an envelope containing money. I started counting and I said, ‘I have got to see who this belongs to.'”
Walker, who lives on Arthur Boulevard in the City of Union, noticed that the address inside the purse was for a woman on O'Shields Street. He decided to take the purse to the Union Public Safety Department.
“They told me ‘Thank you for a good job,'” Walker said. “I wanted to make sure the person got the purse back, so I went to Tommie Hill's house (a Union City Council member and former public safety officer) and asked him where O'Shields Street was.”
Walker visited the woman who had lost the pocketbook. She told him she had just received a call from the police and was going to retrieve her purse.
“She said the money was for her medication,” Walker said.
Chief Sam White said Officer Robert Garner and Officer Eddie Williams contacted the woman on O'Shields Street and asked if her purse was missing.
“She described it to a tee and told exactly how much money was in it,” White said.
White said in his 25 years as a law officer, he very seldom has seen money found and returned to its rightful owner.
“It just shows you there are still some honest people out there who care about other people,” he said.
Walker, who is a veteran of both the Army and the Navy, said his parents, Alfred Walker and Doris Walker, raised him to be honest. He also said he had some good teachers in the Union County School system who instilled good values in him, including Dale Goff, on whom he still calls for advice.
“Honesty has always been the best thing for me,” said Walker, who has one son, Theodore Jr., “Teddy” 9. “I got to thinking, “This is what this country was founded on - honesty.' If you are not honest with yourself, there is no way you can be honest with God.”