Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.
If you’ve been the owner of a wallet at any point during your life, at some point you’ve probably also experienced the heart-stopping realization that you misplaced it, lost it or thought it might have been stolen.
You can generally assume that you won’t get it back, especially not if there’s cash involved — but every once in a while, if an especially honest person finds your lost items, he or she might return them.
Matt Pyles proved himself to be one of those honest people after finding a wallet in a Chipotle parking lot in Atlanta on June 14, 2021.
Pyles told Fox News he was going to lunch with his boss when he found the unattended personal item — but he was the one in shock when he opened it up to look for identifying information.
“The first thing you do is kind of see if there’s an ID of any kind or some sort of identification,” Pyles said. “I kind of looked in it and it’s kind of a split second of … if you picked it up and it was one of your friends or somebody you knew.”
But the name on the ID and cards? Charles Barkley. The Charles Barkley.
Immediately, Pyles thought it must be a joke — but he still went inside the restaurant to see if Barkley had been there.
According to what an employee told him, the former NBA player had been there and had left about half an hour earlier.
Pyle had a connection to Barkley that proved to come in handy: One of his friends, who worked at Turner Sports (the producer of TNT’s “Inside the NBA”), was able to relay the message to Barkley and help facilitate the safe return of the wallet.
“I got the text saying, you know, ‘Charles is so thankful. Is there any way you could take it down to the Four Seasons? He’d love to call you later and hook you up,'” Pyles said.
“Of course, you’re going to leave your name and number so Charles Barkley can give you a call.”
That evening, Barkley publicly recognized Pyles on “Inside the NBA” during halftime of a game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Utah Jazz.
“I lost my wallet today Ernie and Matt Pyles — P-Y-L-E-S, I hope I’m saying his name right — he returned it,” Barkley said, addressing his co-hosts.
“He got in touch with TNT and gave me my wallet back and that was really awesome. I lost it at Chipotle and I didn’t even know it.”
The nod was appreciated by Pyles, who said the whole thing was “certainly a special experience,” but the recognition wasn’t over yet. Upon hearing the story, Chipotle jumped on it and made its own shout-out and reward.
“In search of Matt Pyles… if found return to Chipotle,” the company tweeted. “We have free burritos for a year with his name on them.”
In search of Matt Pyles… if found return to Chipotle. We have free burritos for a year with his name on them. https://t.co/t7dWRrENre
— Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) June 15, 2021
“We are thankful for guests like Matt that go to great lengths to help others and cultivate a better world,” Chipotle Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Laurie Schalow told Fox News.
As for Pyles, he said he was doing what he’d do for anyone, famous or not.
“I don’t feel like I did all that much [it’s] just what I do for anyone,” he said. “If it was Joe Schmo down the street, I’d try to find Joe Schmo down the street and get it back to them.”
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