When one Philadelphian mother of three returned home in July 2017 to find a stranger waiting there and asking for her daughter, she knew something was wrong. Then the mom noticed that he was holding her daughter’s purse, and she immediately feared the worst.
AK lives in Philadelphia with her family, including her mom, Stephanie Robertson-King. And in 2017 AK – the youngest in the family – was 16 and becoming more adult by the day. Indeed, she was thought mature enough to go out in the city unaccompanied, and the sensible teen carried her own wallet containing all her vital cards and documents.
The purse was, moreover, something of a prize possession for AK. But one summer day when the teen was riding an ordinary Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority bus, she somehow misplaced it. And because there are some urban bus routes that have a reputation for attracting shifty characters, it was a dilemma for AK. So, she wondered, had she lost the wallet, or had someone stolen it?
The missing wallet contained AK’s physical cash, her bank debit card and forms of identification, and as a result of it going AWOL, the teen faced the hassle of canceling her card and reapplying for all her documents. Realizing the seriousness of her situation, then, the youngster understandably burst into tears.
A distraught AK then decided to call her parents for some reassurance. Through her sobs she asked her mom and dad if they thought she would get the purse back. But, not wanting to get the teenager’s hopes up unrealistically, AK’s mom told her it was very unlikely that someone would return the missing item.
However, that wasn’t to be the end of the missing-or-stolen wallet saga that day. After trying to put the unfortunate episode and her daughter’s distress to the back of her mind and continue with her daily business, AK’s mom returned home later to find a total stranger pounding on her door.
The unexpected sight of a large man seemingly trying to gain entry to her home brought Robertson-King up sharp. She was fearful, after all, that the noise of his banging on the door would disturb her neighbors. And more to the point, what would motivate an unfamiliar face to arrive on the Robertson-Kings doorstep when everyone in the family was out?
Consequently, Robertson-King approached the scene with caution. She asked the young man who he was and what he could possibly want. Then she was filled with dread when she noticed that he was holding her daughter’s missing purse in his hand. The stranger then asked if he could speak to AK.
But before Robertson-King had time to question the interloper further, he began to explain how he had come to be in possession of the purse. The young man introduced himself as Baxter Perkins and revealed that he had come across the missing wallet while riding on a city bus.
“I go to the back of the bus because usually there are more seats available there,” Perkins explained to a reporter from local Philadelphia news channel Fox 29 in August 2017. “Then I see this wallet.” And while the 19-year-old could have easily ignored the item – or taken it – he decided to do the right thing.
After learning AK’s name and address from the identification papers in her wallet, Perkins had taken a bus to her part of town and then walked the rest of the way to her house to return the valuable item. Then when he had found that no one was answering his knocking on the door, he decided to wait for someone to return home. That’s the moment when Robertson-King walked up and registered her surprise and concern.
“Her parents were like, ‘Who are you?’” Perkins recalled to the television news crew. However, the young man could understand the frosty reception that he received. “Now that I think about it, this six-foot-two guy waiting for your 16-year-old daughter – it’s not a good look,” he jokingly acknowledged.
“I’m like, ‘Sorry, I just found your daughter’s wallet.’ Her mom stopped in her tracks,” Perkins continued. And very soon after this exchange, the stranger who turned out to be a Good Samaritan was able to reunite AK with her purse in person. Yes, the young girl came home.
What’s more, it proved to be a very emotional moment for all those involved. It especially touched AK, who found that she couldn’t hold her tears in. “She comes out, and her eyes are just red and she’s bawling,” Perkins revealed to Fox 29. “I didn’t know how to take it. I’m just like, ‘I’m sorry, but you’re welcome?’”
And not only had Perkins returned the wallet that he had found, but luckily it still contained all of AK’s cards and money. By way of reward, AK’s grateful dad handed Perkins all the money that he happened to have on his person. Meanwhile, her mom went a step further and raided her daughter’s wallet to give him the cash from there, too.
In fact, Robertson-King was so impressed with Perkins’ good deed and general demeanor that she took photographs of him handing the wallet back to her daughter. And later, the relieved mom shared the pictures of Perkins and her tearful “Baby Gurl” on her Facebook timeline alongside details of the entire episode – and her uplifting post soon took off online.
“Turns out young Baxter is 19, goes to school in NY and is the son of a co-worker (small world),” Robertson-King wrote on Facebook. “This gesture has doused my cynicism and restored my faith. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Perkins you should be proud AND he has become an honorary member of our fam.”
The heartwarming Facebook post has subsequently been shared tens of thousands of times online. And although Robertson-King never meant for the story to go viral, she holds the hope that the story will paint a positive picture of young African-Americans.
“It was something that made me feel really good, and I just wanted to share it,” Robertson-King explained to Fox 29. “We see so much negativity – especially with our young black men – that I just wanted my friends to know this young black man did something that touched our hearts.”
And while Baxter Perkins had no intention of becoming an internet sensation when he performed his kindhearted act of civic responsibility, he too hopes that the story can have a positive influence on others. “Just do the right thing,” he urged people. “It’s not hard to be a good person.”