“A no-brainer:” Low-income father’s selfless decision to return stranger’s money goes viral

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Washington -- A stranger sent him more than $1,000 -- but he knew right away it wasn't meant for him. His decision to do the right thing has gone viral. 

"I saw that I had an email that said 'you have money,'" Gerrell McAllister.

So, the 28-year-old man checked his PayPal account and noticed $1,200 from a stranger.

"They had sent an email requesting that I send it back and it was just like, a no-brainer. It was instinctive to just push that button," McAllister said.

The money was refunded to Melissa Trusler's father. He meant to send the $1,200 to his daughter for her birthday, but he typed in her old phone number, which now belongs to McAllister.

"I knew it wasn't mine. Like, I knew it wasn't for me," McAllister said.

Shocked by McAllister's quick decision to do the right thing, Trusler posted the story on Facebook. She said McAllister told her he wanted to improve race relations by fighting back against negative stereotypes against African-American men like him.

"I guess I would assume that they think that I might be untrustworthy. That I might be trying to get over on whoever I come in contact with. That I'm low class, that I'm moral-less," McAllister said.

McAllister proved he's full of morals, and definitely not low-class. He is, however, low-income, after falling on hard times after his mother died in December. He works part-time to help support his five-year-old daughter.

"To be selfless. I'm trying to teach her respect. I'm trying to teach her independence -- all the things that my mom was," McAllister said.

McAllister said he knows his mother would be proud of him, and so are so many people who don't even know him. Strangers are now sending him money and messages on PayPal after hearing about his selfless act on social media.

"It shows that there are other good people out there, and we're unifying, hopefully. It means that there's still hope. There's still faith in humanity for me," McAllister said.