Integrity of student leads to returning found money

by: MALLORY CARVER/News Editor

Most students would consider themselves lucky to find $500 dollars lying on the ground.

Books, tuition, housing, and all other necessities could be bought with that amount of money. So imagine strolling around campus and finding $500 dollars lying on the ground. What would you do?

Austin Via Gomez, a sophomore computer information major at South Plains College, recently was faced with that exact predicament.

As he left the Technology Building on the Levelland Campus, he spotted cash lying on the ground. Realizing the cash added up to $500, Via Gomez said his first reaction was to reimburse himself for the books he had just bought, or put the money toward an emergency fund. But the more he thought about it, the harder the decision became.

“It was a tough decision,” he says. “Five hundred dollars could pay for my books this semester.”

After being excited by his find, Via Gomez began thinking of the person who lost the money, and said he couldn’t keep it without feeling guilty.

“After asking my roommate, and asking God, I decided to give it back,” he says.

When the Spur native had made the decision to return the cash, he was not sure how to go about it. He decided to talk to his advisor about it, who told him to speak to a counselor. He then returned the money to the Math Department. He says that the person in the Math Department was amazed to have $500 dollars returned. They helped find the student who had reported the $500 dollars missing, and made sure it was returned to its rightful owner.

Via Gomez says he is still glad that he made the right choice, even though he’s now $500 poorer and won’t get reimbursed for his books.

Austin Via Gomez
Austin Via Gomez happy about making right decision to return the money. MALLORY CARVER/PLAINSMAN PRESS

“I’m glad I returned it,” he says. “I couldn’t keep it knowing that someone else probably needed it.”

Via Gomez was a member of the track team and participated in various other sports before attending SPC. He says that attending SPC was a last-minute decision, but one of the best he has ever made. Via Gomez, who also serves as a Campus Ambassador, said he worked hard to earn that position. In his free time, he says he also enjoys playing piano and making music.

Not many people would find the strength to let go of such a significant amount of cash. It is good to know that there are students at SPC, such as Via Gomez, who are willing to do the right thing, even if it causes an inconvenience.

Via Gomez was able to have a positive impact on another student’s life, who is undoubtedly grateful, and he says he is thankful for that.

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