A fast food worker became a key part of the capture of a suspected serial killer in Tampa, Florida, after she noticed something suspicious and told the police.
Now, organizations are dragging their feet in paying her a reward for catching the suspect… but a kindhearted business owner just stepped up and personally handed her a check.
According to the U.K. Daily Mail, a McDonald’s employee named Delonda Walker had her suspicions raised when she came across a bag containing a gun and money belonging to a co-worker in the restaurant.
The co-worker, 24-year-old Howell Donaldson III, told Walker not to look in the bag, but the restaurant worker followed her instincts and informed a police officer who was in the restaurant at the time doing paperwork, according to The Tampa Bay Times.
Now, Donaldson is under arrest on suspicion of committing four different murders throughout the Tampa area.
“The killings started 53 days ago in Tampa’s Seminole Height’s neighborhood,” explained the Daily Mail.
“Each of the four victims was shot dead but not robbed while they walked along at night within a half-mile area of the Seminole Heights neighborhood.”
There was a combined $110,000 in reward money promised to anyone who came forward with evidence that led to the killer’s arrest, but now it is unclear if Delonda Walker will receive that sum.
At least one of the groups that offered a reward is dragging their feet based on the fact that the McDonald’s worker went directly to a police officer, instead of using their tip hotline.
“Crimstoppers’ policy says they cannot reward Ms Walker because she did not inform them directly,” stated The Daily Mail. “The others have yet to comment on whether they will make good their promises.”
One businessman, however, put his money where his mouth is. A local restaurant owner named Richard Gonzmart personally walked into the McDonald’s where Delonda Walker works and handed her a check for $9,000.
“She didn’t know what to say. She didn’t expect anything,” explained Gonzmart. “I don’t think she did it for a reward. That’s what makes it even more special.”
The family of one of the murder victims echoed that sentiment, and called the fast food worker a “hero.”
“She’s a hero to all of us and our family, she’s part of our family now,” Kenny Hoffa told WFTS News. He is the father of Monica Hoffa, one of the four people killed in the string of connected crimes.
“So Day One of our family healing started when we got the phone call, but it really started when she turned that gun over to the police,” he continued.
In today’s world, it’s all too easy to turn a blind eye to a situation or decide that a crime is “not my problem.”
Thankfully, one Florida resident showed that she had the courage to speak up when she saw a problem… and community members sent a message that her decision did not go unnoticed.
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