When a volunteer at a family service in Texas discovered thousands of dollars in a donated coat, her first instinct was to report the missing money and return it to its owner. The act of kindness helped a mourning widow balance her checkbook.
In December 2017, volunteer Guadalupe Reesor found a small fortune while sifting through donated clothes for the Resale Shop in Richardson, Texas.
"My job is to sort the clothes ... I checked the pocket here, and this was full of money," Reesor told WFAA, presenting a black pea coat.
The donated coat contained four envelopes with $50 and $100 bills. All told, the envelopes were flush with $17,050. Reesor resolved to alert assistant manager Kristina Russell.
"It was just so much that she could hardly hold on to it," Russell recalled of Reesor's discovery. "I looked at it and thought, 'That can't be real.' We still couldn't believe it. $17,000."
Russell decided to inform the store owner, chief operation officer Cathy Barker of the Jewish Family Service, about the trove of misplaced bills.
"It was something any non-profit organization could definitely use," Barker said of the $17,000. "But that wasn't the right thing to do."
The Jewish Family Service tracked down the coat's donor, a 78-year-old woman who went by the name Sheri. The money could not have been returned at a more opportune time for Sheri.
Sheri's husband had passed away in January. The widow's bank balance had shrunk after burying her husband and she was having trouble keeping up with her bills.
"Really concerned, so I didn't even reconcile my checking account this month," Sheri said. "I didn't even want to know what I'm going to be doing next year and what I'll have to give up."
Sheri did not know why her late husband had hidden the envelopes of cash in his coat, but happily accepted the money. She gave Reesor $1,000 for kindly reporting the money.
Often when someone misplaces their cash, the money is gone for good. Some people have made a habit of generously shepherding lost funds to their rightful owners.
In May 2014, a homeless man named Hassell Barber approached a police officer to turn in more than $250 he had found in Kingston, New York. Just one year before, Barber had returned $485 he had found laying on the ground, WTEN reports.
Brian Coley, a man who worked in the area where Barber resided, said the homeless man was so humble he would turn down free cups of coffee.