WILKES-BARRE — He was just a guy out for a walk.
Staffers at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts said they have tracked down the do-gooder who returned comedian Steve Martin’s wallet after finding it on South Main Street Tuesday morning, but the 60-year-old man continues to shun the limelight.
Kirby staff have offered the Wilkes-Barre man and his family free tickets to an upcoming show of his choice. He accepted the offer, said programming director Will Beekman, but asked that his name not be released.
“He wishes to remain anonymous,” said Beekman. “He’s a very nice, humble gentleman who feels he has done nothing worth mentioning.”
Martin, 67, was in Wilkes-Barre to play bluegrass music during an evening performance at the Kirby with Edie Brickell with the Steep Canyon Rangers; he apparently lost the wallet earlier in the day while riding a bicycle around the city.
The anonymous good Samaritan called the theater to report his find. After staff confirmed Martin’s wallet actually was missing, the comedian asked to meet the man when he walked to the Kirby to return Martin’s property.
The comedian offered him show tickets, but the man said he was unable to attend that night.
Ellen Masaitis, a worker at Curry Donuts near the theater, told The Times Leader that the man, whose name she did not know, told her about the incident, adding that Martin gave him $100 for his good deed.
Beekman said staff didn’t think to ask the man his name on Tuesday, but located him later by telephone after reviewing that morning’s call log. “He said he was going for a walk, found the wallet, saw the California driver’s license inside and knew who it was — and that Steve Martin was performing at the Kirby that night,” Beekman said.
News of the man’s good deed quickly made headlines, being picked up by wire services and television outlets from coast to coast. Martin praised the man with a Tweet stating: “An honest man is found in Wilkes-Barre! Thank you, sir!”
“I don’t think any of us expected it to become quite as big a deal as it became,” said Beekman. “It put Wilkes-Barre, as a whole, on the map in a positive light.”