A woman who thought she lost some of her most valuable possessions, as well as thousands of dollars in cash, found a hero in a young man in a blue jumpsuit.
On March 27, Yoany Gutierrez, 34, was working a morning shift along the Hudson River Park boardwalk as part of a Doe Fund crew when he noticed a purple backpack.
The Doe Fund is a non-profit that houses and trains formerly incarcerated and homeless New Yorkers in exchange for helping keep the city clean.
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"I was reluctant to go anywhere near it, so I gave it some time," Gutierrez said, worried that it might be one of those suspicious packages New Yorkers always hear about.
He eventually came back to the bag, opened it and Inside found a laptop, cell phone, identification, credit cards and $7,500 in cash. He zipped it back up, determined to find its owner.
"About half an hour later I saw this young lady, frantic and crying," Gutierrez said. "I had seen the name on the card and I asked her if she lost something."
Once he confirmed her name, he handed the bag back to its rightful owner and was rewarded with a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"I was extremely joyful to know that there are still good and genuine people in this world," the woman, who wished to only be identified as Brianna, wrote in a letter to the Doe Fund. She had tracked down the Harlem home Gutierrez was living.
At the park, Brianna tried to offer Gutierrez $2,000 in appreciation, but he declined.
Gutierrez, who was accepted into the Doe Fund only two months ago after a bout with homelessness, told Metro he didn't think his good deed was a big deal at the time.
"There's no reward in that," he said. "In the past, I've lost my wallet, ID, Social Security card — everything. I know what it feels like when you lose something very important to you."
Even if Gutierrez wouldn't accept a reward, Brianna told the Doe Fund she couldn't thank him enough.
"I was cognizant that he needed everything that was in my bag more than I did and still he was a honest person," she wrote. "This is to Mr. Yoany Gutierrez: thank you so very much for your kindness."