There are defining moments in life when it seems as if the universe is testing you.
Kindell Keyes is an assistant manager at thrift store at Goodwill’s Long Island City who may have experienced such a moment when she found a donated purse filled with over $39,000 last summer.
It’s a story of good heartedness, honesty, and integrity. After opening the black handbag and finding an envelope with an address on it, which had a small stash of $1 and $5 bills, she dug deeper and discovered the rest of the money. Once she got over her initial shock, Keyes quickly told her manager about her unusual find.
Apparently a situation that might induce temptation, but not with Keyes.
“It felt weird, because I honestly thought it was probably a prank,” she recalled. “But as I continued to look through the purse I realized the money was real. I was so happy that I found it and excited that the money was returned to the rightful owner. I never for once thought about keeping it. I have an awesome conscience.”
Another employee of the store, Maria Torres, was able to trace the item back to a neighborhood in Queens from the address on the envelope. It came from the former home of an almost 102-year-old grandmother of two California brothers, who had donated the purse after cleaning out her belongings when she died.
Keyes who grew up in a family of seven brothers and sisters in a single parent household was spoken well of by the store owner, awarded $3,900 for her kindness, goodwill and honesty and recognized for the good deed..
The Impact Award honoree believes her neighborhood is special because “even though we are part of New York City, it’s not that busy out here. It’s quiet,” she says. “I can take a walk on the boardwalk, admire the ocean and there is a calmness to the neighborhood that makes it so peaceful to live out here.”
Her favorite pastime is writing screenplays. At the moment, she’s working on a television pilot called “Burden of Sin,” and says it’s a drama series about a mother raising her daughters in a time when things aren’t always fair for women.
She also likes to film friends, family members, and co-workers, and has a two-part video called “The Kenny Challenge” available on YouTube. “We have an awesome staff of hard workers at Van Dam. So, at times, I like to do challenges with them. It’s a dance that one of the staff members created.
“Our staff at Van Dam believes that it’s not always about work but that you should have fun at your job. So, the challenges are a great way of keeping the staff happy and have made it easy to talk to our management team, and it’s a great way to get to know the people you work with.” Keyes says.