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Arkansas teen warms hearts after driving nearly 30 miles to return wallet he found in parking lot

Delivontae Johnson, 19, spotted the wallet left behind in a shopping cart at Walmart.
/ Source: TODAY

When Dee Harkrider left her wallet in a shopping cart at Walmart, she didn't immediately notice it'd gone missing.

That was, until her friend called her to ask if she'd seen it lately.

"Oh, man. I knew then," she tells with a laugh. "I said, 'Ah, it's sitting in the buggy in the parking lot at Walmart!'"

Her friend, Elaine Keown, had gotten a message from a young man who said he'd found it. He'd originally messaged Harkrider on Facebook, but when she didn't immediately respond, he reached out to Keown, who was in Harkrider's profile picture.

Delivontae Johnson, 19, had gone to a Walmart as he dealt with a tire blowout. After driving there on the spare tire, he spotted the wallet in a shopping cart in the parking lot and grabbed it.

He initially debated just giving it to customer service at the store but decided he wanted to make sure its owner got it back in pristine condition with everything inside. He opened it up, found Harkrider's name, messaged her and headed toward her home address.

Unfortunately, Harkrider had gone to a friend's house, which Johnson learned later, so he had to double back in the opposite direction. In the end, he drove about 30 miles to return the wallet.

"I took it upon myself to go out the way, and I just wanted to do something that's a good deed," he tells

missing wallet
Dee Harkrider's returned wallet.Courtesy Dee Harkrider

Harkrider was surprised to see how young Johnson was when he pulled into her friend's driveway to return the wallet.

"He pulled up and this young teenager gets out of his car!" Harkrider said. "I said, 'Look, let me let me get a picture of us because I'm gonna put this picture on Facebook.'"

Harkrider said the experience "has restored my faith in the youth a lot more," adding that she was excited to share the story with her friends online.

man who returned wallet and woman whose wallet was lost
Delivontae Johnson and Dee Harkrider take a selfie.Courtesy Dee Harkrider

In the days that followed, especially after Keown pitched it to local news stations, their story made headlines across the country.

Harkrider says she thinks the story has resonated with so many people because they're looking for positivity in the world.

"I have a feeling it's so good to see something good in the news these days because so much bad," she said.

She added that some of the negative comments online have bothered her.

"I've read a lot of comments. I'm not happy with a lot of comments: 'Why is this even the news?'" she quoted with a sigh. "Well, why does it make the news? Because we don't see this like we used to see this. The world is changing and it's not changing for the good, OK? And it's time we woke up to that. And our young people — we need to lift them up and encourage them."

Harkrider has since spent time with Johnson’s mom after the two met during another interview. She hopes Johnson stays in touch, but she joked, "What teenager wants to hang out with the 61 year old woman, though?"

Johnson — who is taking a semester off from a local community college — is working as a photographer, car detailer and a few other side gigs, he tells Harkrider is glad he's being recognized in the media and in their communities of Palestine and Forrest City, Arkansas, just southwest of Memphis, Tennessee.

"I want him to be recognized," she said. "And I hope this story, as it's getting out and about, sets an example for other youth out there."