Low-Income Father Returns $1,200 He Accidentally Received On PayPal

Gerrell McAlister just wants to break stereotypes by letting people know “a low income 28 year old Black man” returned the money he mistakenly received.

What would you do if you wake up one day to find $1,200 in your account?

It might sound too good to be true but this is exactly what happened to a 28-year-old man from Tacoma, Washington, after an accidental encounter left him a thousand dollars richer.  

As the BuzzFeed reports, Gerrell McAllister, a single father who works as a cashier at a natural pet foods store, received an email from PayPal notifying him of the unexpected transaction.

“It said ‘You’ve got money!’ so I’m thinking ‘You’ve got jokes!’” he recalled, adding once he realized it was indeed real, he began to freak out. “I immediately woke up. I didn’t know where it was from.”

So, where did the money come from?

Turns out, the funds were meant for Melissa Trusler, a 30-year-old sales executive from Seattle. Her father, Alan, had sent her $1,200 on her birthday to help her with the cost of a new couch she had recently purchased. However, instead of sending money on her new phone number, he accidentally sent it on her old one — the one that now belongs to McAllister.

To give a little background, McAllister has recently fallen onto some hard times. After his mother’s death last year in December, he has been struggling to deal with the sorrow and despair from the loss and has made taking care of his 5-year-old daughter his biggest focus.

Despite receiving such a large sum, the Tacoma resident decided to return the money. He even added a note asking his unknown beneficiary to “tell her I said happy birthday.”

“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,” McAllister explained.

Apparently, this was not the first time he had received money from Trusler’s father. A month ago, he received $55, which he immediately sent back.

After Trusler thanked him for his honesty, he asked her to let her friends and family know the gesture came from “a low income black man from Tacoma with a 5-year-old daughter” — a message that she later shared on Facebook.

“You're so very welcome! But if you could tell your family and friends that a low income 28 year old Black man from Tacoma with a 5 year old daughter returned your money, I would find that helpful in improving race relations while reaffirming the dope a** culture we as Western Washingtonians have worked so hard to cultivate,” it read. “And that, in turn, would help me to stop kicking myself in the ass for remaining morally sound through the tough times my family and I are experiencing at the moment, lol. In short, share the story, spread the love. Thank you.”

McAllister later told BuzzFeed he was only trying to shatter some stereotypes and improve race relations.

“Tacoma has a reputation of being lower class and untrustworthy. We call it the 'Tacoma grit,' but we’re not bad people,” he explained. "It was important to me to use this as an example to reverse some of those stereotypes, whether racial stereotypes or about young people. Hopefully, people can learn from it.”

Trusler’s social media post soon began to draw attention — and since nothing good in the world goes wasted, several people asked the sales executive if they could have McAllister’s account number to make donations.


And it just went on from there…




This act of generosity from complete strangers left the young father overwhelmed.

"To be honest I haven’t checked my PayPal since that day," he admitted, adding beyond the money, the kind words accompanying the donation have been “therapeutic after the loss our family has gone through.”

“I want to try to message everyone back individually to say thank you,” he said. “I don’t want the money to detract from that. I don’t want that to dilute the intent.”

His older brother also sent this heart touching message to Trusler.



People like McAllister and all those trying to help are a reminder that there is still some good left in the world.

Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters 

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