Pay it forward

Local man hunts down owner of lost wallet

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— Matthew Shelters felt as if he were on a game show when dollar bills came flying at his car's windshield a couple of weeks ago.

Amy DeCastro, Shelters' girlfriend, was driving his car home late at night last month when she slowed to turn off U.S. Highway 40. It was there that they saw the money blowing around in the street.

"I hopped out of the car and grabbed the cash," Shelters said Thursday. "There was money everywhere. Eventually the trail led to a wallet 100 yards down the street."

Shelters looked through the wallet but found no drivers license, identification or credit cards. But he did find more than $600.

The lone item that could help identify the wallet's owner was a paycheck stub, but Shelters had little luck getting in touch with the employer who issued the paycheck.

Four days later, Shelters saw a lost and found ad in the Steamboat Pilot & Today that matched the description of the wallet.

Steamboat Springs resident Brian Simillion came forward to claim his wallet from Shelters, and he awarded Shelters with $100 for his efforts.

"He kept thanking me and shook my hand, gave me a hug and obviously had a really rough couple of days," Shelters said. "He said it was the best thing that happened to him in a while. It was definitely worth it."

And the $100 reward money was well spent. Shelters used it on his sick kitten, which hadn't yet learned how to cough up a hairball, he said.

"It was a $140 vet bill. The money definitely came in handy," he said.

Shelters said he worked so hard to track down the wallet's owner because he believes in karma.

"It's like that movie 'Pay It Forward.' I hope the act will inspire someone to do something nice for someone else without any expectations of it necessarily returning to you," he said. "Karma is about being content with the fact that it will go from one person to the next."

To reach Allison Plean, call 871-4204 or e-mail aplean@steamboatpilot.com.

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