This elderly woman was robbed while visiting her late husband’s grave. The incident scarred the grieving widow even more. Then, out of the blue, she received a call from someone she never expected to hear from—the thief’s son.
Tona Herndon of Bethany, Oklahoma, was still mourning the death of her husband of 60 years when she was robbed while visiting his grave in 2013.
The thief got away with the 78-year-old’s purse and $700 but was soon caught. The thief’s mugshot was broadcasted all over the news. A teen saw the news and knew the thief well—it was his father.
The thief’s son, 15-year-old Christian Lunsford, was not surprised by his father’s actions.
“We were on our way to Tulsa to visit some people and I got a call from the county jail,” Christian said to News 9. “I didn’t answer it, but I kind of suspected who it was because this isn’t the first time.”
Since Christian’s parents divorced when he was two, his dad had been in and out of prison several times. The two are not close, but his dad recently gave him $250 for a band trip that Christian wanted to go on.
“When I found out this whole situation, I didn’t know if it was hers or his or how, I just knew I needed to give the money to her,” Christian said.
Christian decided to call Herndon and asked if they could meet at a church parking lot.
“You think, ‘What’s going on here?’” Herndon said.
What she didn’t know was that Christian wanted to set things right.
“It needed to be done,” Christian said. “She needed an apology from somebody. If I didn’t apologize, who would?” So when Christian met her, he did just that.
“I thought that was so, so precious. Any 15-year-old boy who has that much conscience is extraordinary,” she said of Christian’s actions. But that’s not all he did. Christian handed her the money that his father gave him.
“He gave me $250 for my band trip, but I’m not sure if it was yours or however he got it, but I’d feel bad if I didn’t give it to you,” Christian told Herndon.
Herndon accepted the money, but what happened next came as a surprise to Christian.
“I accepted the money back,” Herndon said. “And it was mine to do with what I wanted.” Herndon then turned around and gave it to Christian so he could go on his band trip.
“I was very surprised actually,” Christian said. “I didn’t expect that at all, but it meant a lot.”
Although their meeting was brief, it left an impression on Herndon. “I feel more like my life still has a purpose,” Herndon told CBS News.
As for Christian, he’s acutely aware that he is not like his father. In his interview with Steve Hartman, Christian said, “You’re not who your parents are. Even if they do raise you, you can become whoever you want to be.”