ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – After hearing about mass shootings, the drought, wars and whatnot on a day-to-day basis, it’s nice to hear something heartwarming once in a while to restore one’s faith in human kindness.
Ray Leuthauser didn’t expect to ever become an integal part of such a feel-good tale until he was driving home from work Monday afternoon.
Suddenly he noticed an envelope sitting on the trunk of a car ahead of him turning onto the entrance ramp for westbound I-44 from Murdoch, an envelope that moments later shot into the air.
What spilled out of it was cash, and lots of it.
“I honked at her a couple of times, trying to get her to stop,” Leuthauser recalls. “She didn’t stop so I pulled over as quick as I could and started picking money up off the side of the highway. A lot of it went out into traffic, which I couldn’t go out there and get.”
Even though Leuthauser ended up gathering in more than $300 in cash, it turned out to be less than half of what had been in the envelope to start with.
Leuthauser learned that the following morning when he met up with the 77-year-old volunteer for Peter & Paul Services, which provides for the homeless, to give her back the money he’d been able to recover.
Luckily, he’d recovered the woman’s ID card and contact info with the wayward cash.
“She was beside herself because she didn’t know what she had done with the money,” Leuthauser says. “She told me she was going to have to make up the difference by taking it out of her own bank account.”
Here’s where the story really ramps up.
Leuthauser, an employee of Niehaus Construction Service and member of Plasterers’ Local #3, mentioned the woman’s plight at the job site.
Before he knew it his co-workers had passed the hard-hat and collected the money needed to make up the difference.
“She needed $475 and we got her back $505,” Leuthauser reports.
People have been calling Ray Leuthauser a hero for helping to turn around what could have been a terrible situation for a local charity.
“Well, I don’t see that,” he sheepishly responds to the “hero” tag. “I just happened to be the one behind her and decided to do the right thing.”