Johnny Duckworth is known as “Thumper” by patrons of Randy's Southside Diner in Orchard Mesa, Colorado, where he’s worked as a busboy for the last nine years. He doesn’t have a lot -- his car breaks down and he moves from house to house, staying with friends and family as he’s burdened by medical debt.
On Dec. 15, Duckworth found $3,000 in an envelope on the diner’s floor. “Just laying on the floor, dead as a door knob just laying there," he told KKCO. “So I picked it up, and the boss was standing right [there].”
Duckworth turned to owner Randy Emmons. “[Duckworth] walked up to me and said, 'Boss, I found this envelope; it feels like it has a lot of money in it,'" Emmons said. "And he handed it to me and walked away."
Emmons knew Duckworth was in need, but Duckworth said he never considered keeping it.
"It's not mine,” he said. "I work for a living; I make money.”
Emmons took the money to the bank, and clerks identified the owner as Darrell Cox, who hadn’t even realized he dropped the envelope of cash.
"The bank called, and I was like, 'Why is the bank calling me to tell me they have my money when I just got the money?" Cox said. "So I went to the bank, and they told me Randy brought it in.”
Cox returned to the restaurant.
"[Duckworth] was here at the counter, and I was back at the booth with one of my grandsons,” Cox said. "I wrote him a note on the back of an envelope ... It said, 'Merry Christmas to a super honest guy.'"
Cox gave Duckworth $300 -- but Emmons took it a step further and created an online fundraiser for his employee. The GoFundMe page has raised more than $13,000 for Duckworth, far exceeding its $3,000 goal.
Cox said he was amazed by the quality of Duckworth’s character.
"Makes me feel a lot better about people, knowing there are a lot of honest people out here," he said. "Like I said, I [would] never have known where it went; I would have never had a clue.”