August 2, 2005--Posted at 3:30 p.m. CDT
Wynne, AR-- Walking has become an everyday thing for 75-year old Melvin Smithee of Wynne.
Since Smithee's heart surgery in '98, he has been walking two to three miles a day, six days a week on Hwy. 64. Last week he found something other than the usual along the way.
"I have to keep my head down most the time or the big trucks will blow my hat off. I was just looking down, and I saw the wallet at the edge of the grass. So I picked it up and looked in it you know, and there was no money in it."
As he looked further in the ditch, he saw bills lying around.
"There was a lot just scattered over the ground, so I started picking it up. I found quite a bit of money that day."
Smithee found $585.00 in the grass that day. He called his daughter and with the help of her and her friend. They were able to track down the owner of the wallet.
"My daughter Melva Doyle and her friend Robby Miles got on the Internet or something and found the owner. We called him and told him what we had found and who we were and told him he could pick it up."
Melvin said the owner of the wallet had gone to Heber Springs and had stopped in Wynne. The gentleman had no pockets, and sat the wallet on the side of the truck, not remembering to get it on his way home.
"I went looking some more and found $32.00 the next day, and that's when he came and got it. He said if I found anymore, it was mine. But you know, I didn't want to keep his money, so when I went looking the next day, I found $133.00...and I called him again."
This time he was only able to leave a message and said they would put it in an envelope in a safe place and he could pick it up on his way through. When they returned home that day it was still there.
Melvin said he had never expected a reward, and he was just doing what he thought was right.
Coach Don Campbell, a neighbor and friend to the Smithees, said he wasn't surprised when he heard the story.
"That's just who they are. They are a special kind of people. They are just common, hard-working, ordinary, country people, but they'd do anything for you."