Diego Valdez, 43, faced a test of honor when he found a bag containing $4 million and important documents, but he did not hesitate to return it without touching a cent despite his difficult economic situation.
Valdez is from Posadas, Misiones, and sells sandwiches and empanadas in the parking lot of a wholesaler, located on the Uruguay roundabout and Domínguez street. On Thursday of last week, at the end of his day, he was cleaning everything and putting together the supermarket carts when the bag was found.
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“I checked it, it had money. I closed it and took it to the supervisors. The manager counted the money, he had $4 million,” Diego said in dialogue with TN.
The supermarket employees were surprised by his good deed. Everyone knows him because he has lived in that parking lot, on and off, for two years. “The hypermarket opened the doors for me. When I lose my job, I go back there,” Valdez confirmed.
He worked as a griller in a restaurant that closed in November and now he dedicates himself to this venture and other jobs to be able to support his two children, ages four and five, and his wife. “That's why (the workers) were also surprised, because I didn't take the money despite the needs I'm going through,” he stated.
The bag belongs to a doctor who is a regular customer at that branch. The managers called him and he returned that same day, desperate and overflowing with gratitude. He already considered his belongings lost.
Diego's story was spread in all local media. (Photo: video capture La Voz de Misiones)
Valdez was present when the doctor came to pick up the bag and they had a short talk. He also couldn't believe that all the papers related to his work and the sum of money were intact.
“He congratulated me and asked me why I didn't keep the money. I told him that I don't want to get dirty with what is not mine, it is not the right thing to do. The man told me that with that money he was going to be a millionaire, and I told him 'I am already a millionaire, I have two beautiful children,'” the missionary recalled.
However, he is honest. Valdez admits that, for a moment, he imagined how he could use the money – like anyone else in his place. He could have purchased the large amount of medication his wife needs to take for pain since she has a herniated disc and cannot work. That idea was immediately discarded: “If I kept that money, I would go to prison, and I have two small children,” he said.
He could also have bought a ticket to meet his brother, who lives in Córdoba. Diego's mother gave him to a family in Misiones when he was a three-month-old baby and he vanished. His brother and his sister stayed with his father.
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It was thanks to the networks that Valdez found his biological siblings and managed to meet his sister, who lives in Posadas, but is still waiting to be reunited with his brother. “I said: 'no, if I'm going to see it, it's going to be with my money,'” he remarked.
Yes, he received a reward for his great deed, but only because the doctor insisted. “I come from a humble family and I was raised that way. I know who needs it more, who lost it. I don't deserve to keep something that isn't mine. If it happens to me again, I'll do it again. “I am very happy and I sleep peacefully,” he confirmed.
The news was spread in the newspaper El Territorio and other local media this week because the hypermarket workers wanted to honor this family man, they wanted his story to be known.
However, he only asks for “an honest job, with social work,” since his situation “is difficult, the rent is increasing, there are few sales.” In any case, he is grateful for the dissemination and messages of support: “It was worth it because people congratulated me,” he acknowledged with emotion.