CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It's the kind of story your heart is better for knowing.
Monday morning at 2:14, John Whitley got a phone call his alarm at his store had been triggered. Whitley owns The Goat Wagon grocery in Charlotte's Fourth Ward.
Whitley arrived to find the glass in his front door busted and another huge pane busted on the store's façade. Hundreds of dollars in damage, likely thousands of dollars in stolen cigarettes, lighters, and cigars.
"You can't help but to be irritated at that," Whitley said after spending hours on the phone with insurance adjustors and sorting through details with police.
Regular customers noticing the boarded up door and window soon learned of the break-in and offered their condolences. But 8-year-old Martin Garlin offered something more than a "sorry."
"It almost makes me cry," Whitley said while recounting the boy plunking down a dollar bill and four pennies on the counter.
Martin lives in the neighborhood and rode home on his skateboard to get the only money he had to his name. He rode his skateboard back to the store and gave it away.
When told he could have kept the money and spent it on himself, Martin replied, "I didn't want to. Because I had the money and he got robbed, so I wanted to give it away to him."
And there's the part that makes tears come to Whitley's eyes.
The idea that a thief stole his faith in people with a simple rock hurled through a window - but an 8-year-old boy restored that faith, with a gesture worth much more than a dollar.