Noah Tyler, 8, had for months been selling popcorn to raise money for his cub scout group.
He managed to rack up as much as $200 before a family friend stole the envelope.
The family currently lives in California, and the family friend had been sleeping on the Tylers’ couch after he had fallen on tough times. But when the family came home one day the friend was gone and so was the envelope.
“It was the only thing that was missing. We were in a state of disbelief,” said Noah’s mother, Megan Tyler.
The family friend managed to walk away with $200 of Noah’s popcorn money.
The family ran on a tight budget, and given that the popcorn was sold and no money to show for it they were going to have to recoup the stolen amount on their own.
To help make up the lost cash, the family decided to sell some of their belongings.
“We went through every drawer and cupboard,” said Megan.
All and all, the family wasn't able to raise much after selling some books, toys, and tools.
“Noah was so devastated,” said Megan.
But on October 30, the family got a welcome surprise.
Megan’s neighbor knocked on her door. He had received a phone call from a man who found Noah’s envelope.
Andy Moe, a firefighter with the Central Pierce Fire Department, had his truck stolen by the same family friend while he was on vacation in California earlier that month. The police found the truck a month later and alerted Moe.
Though his truck was now a few parts short, Moe did find Noah’s envelope with two checks worth $35 in it.
One of the checks had a phone number on it. That number belonged to Megan’s neighbor, who previously bought popcorn from Noah and paid with a check.
Moe explained to Megan how he came about the envelope and what happened to his truck. It was a brief conversation, and it was only weeks later that the full impact of it would be felt.
While Megan and Noah went about their lives, trying to recoup the lost funds, Moe was busy doing the same.
“I put an e-mail out to the fire department asking for donations. We had secretaries, staff support and firefighters donate,” said Moe.
The Central Pierce Fire Department managed to raise about $320 for Noah.
Moe said that he was inspired to do so after hearing about what happened.
“Something bad happened to me, but I could handle it. Thinking about the amount of money and how hard that kid worked, got to me. It was easy to make his situation right on my end,” said Moe.
Megan didn’t know the money was coming until one day she opened her mail and saw a letter with a return address in Washington state.
“I tried to think about who I knew in Washington, but couldn't put it together,” said Megan.
Her jaw dropped when she opened the envelope.
“I started crying," she said. "It was unbelievable that someone would do such a thing for a total stranger.”
Noah for his part was just as happy.
“He kept jumping up and down, saying ‘are you kidding me, mom? Are you kidding me?’” said Megan.
With help from Moe and the Central Pierce Fire Department, Noah was able to raise $730 for his Boy Scout troop this year.