Darik McMahon, 10, Marinette, is being celebrated as a good citizen for turning in a wallet with money and credit cards. The fourth-grader at Garfield Elementary School found the billfold Wednesday on his way to school. The
owner has since been found. <br> EagleHerald/Mike Desotell
Darik McMahon, 10, Marinette, is being celebrated as a good citizen for turning in a wallet with money and credit cards. The fourth-grader at Garfield Elementary School found the billfold Wednesday on his way to school. The owner has since been found.
EagleHerald/Mike Desotell
MARINETTE - Ten-year-old Darik McMahon started out his Wednesday much like any other day. He grabbed a bite to eat, got dressed, hopped on his scooter and headed to school. Then, just a stone's throw from home, near the water tower on Pierce Avenue near Edwin Street, something happened that would change the same old dull routine.
"I found a wallet," he said. "I didn't want to look through it but it was cracked opened and I did see some money and a credit card. I would have brought it home but if I would have brought it home and then gone back to school, I would have been late, so I just brought it to school. I knew I had to turn it in to Mr. (Charles) Siem, my teacher."
True to his instinct, when Darik arrived he notified his teacher of what had happened. He and a friend were given permission to go to the office where principal Robin Harvey and the office staff saw to it the wallet got into the hands of the Marinette Police Department.
"It's always nice to see somebody do what they know is the right thing," said Police Chief John Mabry. "I think it probably happens far more often than not, but it's nice when a youngster does it."
Almost by fate, Siem had a word written on the chalkboard and asked the class if anyone knew the meaning. The word was "integrity."
"Some kids asked what it was, they weren't really sure," said Siem.
"My friend Johnny said what it meant," Darik recalled. "Then Mr. Siem said that this would be a good example and he told the story of the wallet and everyone started clapping." Darik said the applause made him feel good and proved to him that what he did was truly right.
"What a great way to start a day," exclaimed Siem. "In the end, they all knew integrity is doing the right thing even when people aren't watching and that's exactly what he did. It's cool when stuff like that happens. It doesn't happen every day."
Darik's folks agree and couldn't be more proud and are still beaming. "I know not all kids are bad but some would have run right to the candy store," said Darik's mom, Tiffany Goodlet. "I was very proud, he did the right thing. For being 10 years old, I'm glad he knows that was the right thing to do."
You have to wonder if there wasn't just one split-second where Darik thought about keeping the undisclosed amount of cash and spending it on something for himself.
"No," he said emphatically. "I knew I had to turn it in and that my mom and stepdad would be proud of me."
Needless to say, proud is an understatement. "Some 10-year-olds would put it in their pocket, run and get candy or an energy drink or a video game. Not him," said Steve Goodlet Jr., Darik's stepfather. "He gets to school as fast as he can to turn it in."
Darik's mom eventually found out who the wallet belonged to and met with the fiancée of the owner. They just so happen to live near them and were very relieved the wallet was found by someone honest. "She said they were grateful because that's all the money they had until payday."