MANASSAS, Va. - An 11-year-old boy who found $300 in cash at a Virginia Walmart store last month and decided to turn the money in instead of keeping it is winning the hearts of those who heard his story. William Garrison's family has received an outpouring of support from those who think he deserves to be rewarded for doing the right thing.
After William gave the money to a Walmart employee, they called police. The store said police refused to accept the money since it wasn't reported stolen. The money was never claimed, and it was eventually donated to charity.
"It made me feel nice and good because some people wouldn't have said anything," the 11-year-old told FOX 5.
William, who has special needs, shared his story of what happened during his memorable trip to the store in Manassas with his classmates at Mayfield Intermediate School. He even has the picture to prove it - showing him with the Walmart employees. The school posted the photo and a YouTube video to highlight William's good deed.
William's mom, Natalie Pitkin, is a disabled, single mom of four who told FOX 5 she's trying to make ends meet. She says she encourages her kids to do the right thing--and William did just that. She admitted her family could have used the money, but it was the lesson for her son that mattered most.
"The lesson is do the right thing -- even if it hurts, and it hurt," Pitkins said laughingly.
William said he was tempted to keep the cash, but he thought about the person who dropped the money.
"I felt like what if this is someone's money for something really important," William said.
Walmart donated the $300 to Children's Miracle Network and gave William a $40 Walmart gift card. After FOX 5's story aired, we received calls from several FOX 5 viewers who wanted to help reward William for doing the right thing.
One viewer even set up a GoFundMe account called "Reward William Garrison's Honesty." The account has a goal of raising $1,000. As of 7 p.m. Friday, over $2,000 has been raised.
"We can't help everyone, but we can certainly make William's family's holidays a little bit brighter and, as a bonus we can show him that doing the right thing, really does pay-off in the end," a message on the GoFundMe page reads.
"I truly felt love today … and the things they are sending, it was just showing me that people care," said a teary-eyed Pipkin, who was overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers.
Regina Johnson from Waldorf, Maryland was one of several people who contacted us asking where to send a check. She wants to give the family a $300 gift.
Another viewer has ordered four rather generous tech gifts with all the accessories -- one for each of Pipkin's children to open on Christmas. They are all gifts that William's mother really wanted to get for her children.