By TRENT BROWN
Grambling State University Media Bureau
GRAMBLING, LA – On his way home to Texas, engineer David Brown was changing his clothes when he unknowingly left his wallet on the side of Highway 90, near Houma, La.
Thanks to two Grambling State University students, Alexandria Smalls and Duvar Retherford, Brown’s wallet, which held $378, personal identification and credit cards, was returned to him.
He was surprised to get a call saying that the students had his wallet, which he didn’t even realize was missing. When the students returned it at Mel’s Diner in Lafayette, La., a few days later, he expressed gratitude. “Once his identity was found, we had a moral obligation to locate him,” said Rutherford, a senior sociology major scheduled to graduate in May.
Alan Blakeney, director of the university’s TV Center and the students were in Houma filming a rodeo the first weekend in March. A Blakeney friend called to ask for help at the event because he had vehicle problems and couldn’t make it.
On their return trip from Houma, just south of Lafayette, La., Rutherford spotted what appeared to be money blowing around on the highway. Blakeney exited Highway 90, looping back on a service road where they saw bills flying around. They found a wallet, no owner and a driver’s license. They found it hard to believe, but they knew the right thing to do.
Blakeney called Brown and agreed to meet him. Blakeney, Smalls and Retherford met him at Mel’s Dinner in Lafayette about 30 miles north of where they had been traveling, a bit of a detour on the way back to the Grambling area. Brown could not be reached for comment.
In an interview, Blakeney said Brown offered the students a reward, but they refused, saying it was the correct thing to do and never considered any another course of action.
“With so many negative stories in the public realm these days, this incident is a positive statement about our student’ values and a great reflection on this institution,” he said.
Smalls stated that she only did what because she would hope someone would do for her in a similar situation.
“In a world full of people looking out for themselves, I wanted to prove that there were are actually people who care enough to do the right thing,” said Smalls, a senior mass communication major from Lewisville, TX.
Duvar Retherford Alexandria Smalls