NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Ten thousand dollars is a lot of money, especially for a man without a home. When Elmer Alvarez found a check for that amount, he decided to do the right thing and return it to its owner. A friend helped him call the phone number on it, and that’s how he tracked the owner down.

Imagine Alvarez’s surprise when he found an envelope on the ground with a check for more than $10,000 inside. He was walking near the corner of Temple and Chapel Streets in downtown New Haven on Wednesday morning. He wasn’t thinking of himself or what he could do with that money, however.

“I was just thinking about how that person was feeling by losing an amount of a check like that, an amount of money like that,” Alvarez said. “I’d be feeling kind of desperate.”

That person was Roberta Hoskie. She didn’t realize she’d lost the check until she got the phone call from Alvarez and his friend.

Hoskie then went on Facebook live, recording her meeting with Alvarez.

“He had no idea who the person was behind the check,” Hoskie said. “He didn’t know that I was a single mother. I at one point was on welfare. At one point found myself homeless.”

Alvarez says giving the check back and seeing Hoskie’s reaction was better than $10,000, and he’d do it all over again.

“Seeing her happy, seeing her appreciating it and all that made me feel good,” he said.

Hoskie is now trying to say thank you. She wrote him a check and is helping him get an education. She is also helping him get an apartment of his own.

“There needs to be more people like Elmer Alvarez,” said Hoskie. “He’s a golden heart guy. He’s a phenomenal guy.”

“I appreciate everything that she’s doing for me right now,” Alvarez said.

Hoskie says she hopes one day Alvarez will pay it forward and help someone else who’s struggling with homelessness.