When Gerrell McAllister, a 28-year-old cashier in Tacoma, Washington got a $1,200 PayPal payment that wasn’t meant for him, he returned it right away. It turns out it was from Alan Trusler, who meant to send it to his daughter, Melissa, but sent it to her old number, which is now McAllister’s.
McAllister said he woke up to find an email from PayPal saying he'd received $1,200. "It said, 'You’ve got money!' so I’m thinking, You’ve got jokes!" he laughed.
Once he realized it was true he freaked out. He refunded the money as soon as he could. "Returning the money was instinctive because of the values my mom instilled in me. I’m trying to be the best person and provide the best example for my daughter."
The daughter whom the money was intended for, Melissa, sent him a thank you for returning the money. Gerrell asked her to share that the gesture came from “a low income black man from Tacoma with a five-year-old daughter.” He went on to explain that he felt it could help improve race relations, reverse some stereotypes. “In short, share the story, spread the love.”
So Melissa shared the story on Facebook. And when people read it, they started asking for her old number, so they could donate to McAllister for his good deed and strong convictions. And donations of $20, $30, $100 started coming in along with heartfelt messages of encouragement and thanks.
McAllister hasn’t added up the money yet, but says the kind words from strangers have been therapeutic after his mother passed away in December. "For what I’ve taken from this,” he says,” it’s been a major part of the healing process for me.”