Honesty Affirms Goodness

By Dale Huffman
September 13, 2001
Dayton Daily News

In the midst of a nation beset by terrible news, a positive story emerges in the Miami Valley that should restore a bit of our faith in goodness.

“I think I needed something to hang on to,” Nancy Skiles said. “God has certainly answered my prayers.”

Skiles, 43, and her husband, Gary, own the family-run restaurant they call the Country Cafe at 2827 U.S. 35 between Eaton and West Alexandria. It features home cooking that Skiles does herself.

“We work very hard for what we have,” she said. “I work from 14 to 16 hours every day, and it is a struggle to keep our heads above water. But we have many faithful customers, and we enjoy seeing our friends on a regular basis.”

Last Sunday, Skiles and her husband decided to close a bit early. “We were empty and we seldom have time for ourselves, so we just closed up at 4 p.m. and decided to go out and relax and grab a bite to eat in Richmond,” she said.

When they left, her husband took the money from the day’s business with him in a bag. “We usually go right to the bank, but it was Sunday and was just pouring down rain, so we kept the money with us,” she said.

She said they stopped at a restaurant, and at an Amoco station to get gasoline. “When we got home, we realized the bag with the money was gone. It was missing. We had lost it,” she said. “I was terribly upset and cried. I knew that we needed the money to make sure we could pay our power and light bill. For a small business, it was a tremendous loss.”

The Skiles went back out in the heavy rain and retraced their route but found nothing.

After hours of agonizing over the loss, they opened the restaurant Monday, told customers what happened, and decided it was a lost cause.

“Then we got a call from this young man,” Skiles said. “He told us he had found this bag at the filling station and that it had a check made out to the Country Kitchen in it. He arranged to bring it back to us. I can’t tell you how happy and relieved I felt. It was simply wonderful.”

Simon Kapenda, 30, of Trotwood explained he was coming home from Richmond on Sunday evening after visiting friends and stopped to get gasoline. “It was pouring down rain, like a hurricane it seemed,” he said. “When I returned from paying for my gas, I looked down and saw a bag.”

He continued, “I picked it up and looked inside, and it was full of $20 bills. I took it with me.”

When he arrived home, he found the one check mixed in with the cash that was for $12 and made out to the Country Cafe. “When I went through phone books, there were several Country Cafes,” he said. “One in Columbus, one listed in Nevada, Ohio, and then the one in West Alexandria.”

He called the closest one, the restaurant owned by the Skiles and confirmed they had lost a money bag.

“The man brought it back,” Skiles said, her voice broken with emotion. “He told me he believes in God, and it was not his money, and he felt he had to return it. He came in, and I cried so hard I could hardly thank him.”

She said, “It was almost a thousand dollars in cash, and it would have been so easy for him to keep it. But he is one of the good people in the world. He is the most honest person I have ever met. With all the chaos in the nation, this restores my faith. It really does.”

He said, “I strongly believe in God. Although I don’t have much in this world, I am thankful for everything that God continues to do in my life.”

And he added, “My mother taught me well. Not to take anything that does not belong to me. And to respect, love and treat everyone . . . as I would want them to treat me back. That’s what I try to do.”

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This news article has been taken from the Dayton Daily News Archive, used by me without permission on my blog for not commercial purpose.

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