ATLANTA – A 6-year-old Atlanta girl earned high praise from an Olympic champion when she found and returned his stolen gold medal.
The old saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” became a reality along North Grand Avenue in Northwest Atlanta.
That’s where the Smith family loves to go on long walks.
Father Wayne says he always has to keep an eye on his daughter.
“Chloe! Why are you always picking up things?” Wayne Smith said. “Don’t we tell you not to put your hands on stuff so much?”
But one day last month on a road lined with garbage, little Chloe did just that.
“How did it make you feel that you found it?” Channel 2’s Berndt Petersen asked her. “I feel happy. I feel excited,” she said.
Chloe was walking with her father when she plucked a gold medal from the ground. It was from the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona and belonged to whitewater canoe slalom champion Joe Jacobi.
“What a tremendous young person. She is so giving. So kind,” Jacobi said.
A thief had broken into Jacobi’s car outside an Atlanta restaurant a few weeks before and stole several items, including the medal. His laptop and other possessions were found soon after, but not the medal, until Chloe did something she was not supposed to do — pick up stuff that was thrown on the ground.
“Out of all this trash right here, she finds gold! My daughter did her first good deed, because if not for her being so nosy and into stuff all the time, she’s the one who found it,” Wayne Smith said.
The Smith family says Jacobi gave Chloe a $500 reward and is going to visit her classroom when she goes back to school in August to show the children the gold medal.