Shirley Shapiro is still stunned by the actions of a customer at the NU4U thrift shop she and her husband operate for Chabad of Rancho Mirage.
The man approached her Thursday with a pair of men’s boots in hand.
“He said, ‘I found this in one of the boots,'” holding $700 in cash.
“I was blown away,” Shapiro said.
She told the man he could have anything in the store he wanted in return for his honesty, but he declined.
“I kept blessing and blessing him. I was wondering what the rabbi would say,” Shapiro said.
Suddenly, “he just welled up. And I welled up. I was overcome by what he had done, and he was overcome. It was a wonderful moment.”
The customer left before Shapiro could get his name.
Less than 24 hours later, the store got a chance to help a family who had just been forced out of their home.
“They didn’t have a stick of furniture, and we filled a little apartment for them,” she said.
The store may have helped anyway, she said, but the nameless customer helped inspire them.
The boots were donated after their owner died, but the store couldn’t recall who brought them in. The $700 will be used to buy prayer books, Shapiro said.
Ilse Barchardt, who works at Marga’s Repeat Boutique on El Paseo in Palm Desert, said, “I’ve worked for Marga’s for at least 25 years and I have never had the luck of finding $700-plus in a pocket or any of the stuff brought in.”
Shapiro said it has happened before at NU4U, which opened in March at 69-550 Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage.
She once found and returned a roughly $2,600 diamond pin to a woman who didn’t even know her mother had it.
As for the man who turned in the $700, Shapiro said she will keep an eye out for him but, in a way, it’s nicer she doesn’t know who he is.
“Some of the time, the ego isn’t as large as the deed, and that was definitely the case with this man,” she said.