Honest barbershop owners return stolen Olympic gold medal to US women’s volleyball player
Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.
Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.
It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.
“We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. “So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven’t seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it’s such a cool thing to share with people.”
The Olympian got some good news on June 7 when the Anaheim Police Department formally charged Jordan Fernandez, 31, for the crime. According to the New York Post, Fernandez has a “lengthy criminal history” and was charged with residential burglary, vehicle burglary, identity theft and possession of narcotics.
Sadly, the police did not retrieve the missing medal.
On Monday, June 27, Maria Carrillo and Noe Hernandez, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, reported finding the medal in a heavy bag outside their shop to the Anaheim Police Department. They must have been astonished to open the bag and to find, of all things, an Olympic gold medal. People dedicate their entire lives to winning Olympic gold, so they must have been flummoxed to find one dumped on their property.
Local residents praised the couple on Facebook for being honest and turning in the medal to the police.
“Noe is an Amazing man! He owns his barber shop on Lincoln. My kids go there. They love Noe! He’s been cutting my boys hair for years! This is a great story to tell my boys to congratulate him next week when they go in for their haircuts!” Sylvia Sanchez wrote.
“How refreshing to see honest people are still around,” Madelyn Valdés-Vásquez added.
— USA Volleyball (@USA Volleyball)
The barbershop owners’ decision to do the right thing is a beautiful gesture, especially because an Olympic gold medal is priceless. According to NBC News, Olympic gold medals contain at least 92.5% silver, plated with at least 6 grams of gold, which is about $750 worth of precious metals. However, the sentimental value to Poulter cannot be accurately translated to dollars and cents. She earned that medal after countless hours of training and years of hard work. To lose it after leaving it in a car had to be absolutely heartbreaking.
The Anaheim Police Department says that it is in the process of returning the medal back to Poulter.
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