Updated February 16, 2021 - 7:32 am
When Rogelio Rodriguez of Las Vegas returned a green purse last week to the woman who lost it, he also delivered some faith in humanity.
Carole Skolnick had just picked up her husband after a doctor’s appointment on Feb. 8 in North Las Vegas. As she made a left turn, her driver’s side door suddenly began to open. She quickly pulled it shut, not noticing that her bag had fallen out.
Twenty minutes later, she realized the purse was gone.
It contained nearly $150 in cash, at least $300 in gift cards, credit cards and, most important to her, her driver’s license and health insurance card.
The couple returned to the area, near a construction site, and began anxiously looking through garbage bins and in the scrub brush.
“I assumed someone took the money and gift cards and ditched the rest,” Skolnick said.
They gave up after 3o minutes but left contact information with a foreman at the site in the hope that someone might find it and turn it in.
The next morning, Skolnick’s phone rang. When she picked it up, a deep-voiced stranger said simply, “I found your purse.”
The Skolnicks drove to the site and met Rodriguez, 53, who handed over the purse. The bag was just as it was when it slipped out the car door.
Skolnick said she was moved by Rodriguez’s “decency and his honesty” and gave him a $200 reward.
“I didn’t cry when I lost my purse,” she said. “I cried when I got it back.”
Rodriguez, also known as “Roger,” works long hours at a cleaning agency and juggles other jobs while taking care of his wife, who suffered a stroke three years ago.
He said he found the purse while doing maintenance work on some buildings near the construction site, got Skolnick’s phone number from a construction worker and called right away.
He also was moved by Skolnick’s generosity.
“I really needed it,” Rodriguez said of the reward, tears welling in his eyes. “It really meant so much to me.”
Placing both hands on his chest, he added, “I felt it in my heart.”
He said he never even thought about stealing the purse.
“I didn’t care about the money,” Rodriguez said. “I thought, what if they really needed that money?”
He also remembered a time when he lost his driver’s license and feared he would lose everything.
Skolnick said she added Rodriguez to her cellphone, filed under “Roger: A Kind Honest Human,” and is adding him to the couple’s Christmas list.
“I can’t believe that at a time like this, someone could be this respectful … and still have these morals and values,” she said. “I came across a man who’s decent and honest at a time where it’s truly hard to be any of those things.”