But as luck (and some internet savvy relatives) may have it, Chanti Carter-Rene stands to benefit from her kindness financially as well.
The 29-year-old East Orange woman didn't think twice about returning the $3,500 in cash Chris Gagnon, 50, dropped on the sidewalk outside a Citibank in downtown Morristown just two days before Christmas.
Carter-Rene told NJ.com she could have used the wad of $100 bills for a security deposit on an apartment for her and her 2-year-old daughter, but "the guilt would kill me."
Carter-Rene returned the money to Citibank where Gagnon picked it up. Many expressed interest in paying it forward and helping out Carter-Rene with donations of their own. In response, her family started a gofundme site to collect donations with the goal of raising $2,000.
But according to Carter-Rene, returning the money was simply the right thing to do.
I never in a million years expected this as a result of doing the right thing by instinct, not for personal gain," Carter-Rene said on the fundraising website. "The fact that people wanted to help me as a result has been extremely moving and I couldn't be more thankful that one act of kindness has duplicated to multiple acts of kindness."
According to NJ.com, Gagnon, who gave her $250, said he hoped the money would help Carter-Rene move into a place of their own.
"That would be a wonderful holiday story," he said in an e-maii to NJ.com.
With total funds already exceeding $2,000 there is a good chance Carter-Rene ends up with more money than she returned to Gagnon.
"Hopefully a day will come where acts such as these are ordinary rather than extraordinary. I hope this story resonates as an inspiration at this poignant time of year with all the resolutions and self-reflection," Carter-Rene said. "Be good to each other, even someone you don't know. It means a lot, even the smallest measures, and as you can see, kindness has the tendency to snowball."