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JackAdams's avatar

Have you ever found a large amount of money and returned all of it to the rightful owner? What happened when you did that?

Asked by JackAdams (6492points) August 28th, 2008

I was living in a city where I found a wallet containing $300 cash, along with the owner’s ID and some of his business cards.

It turned out that he owned a local fish market, so I went over there and asked, “Are you [name]?”

When he indicated that he was the person I was seeking, I pulled out his wallet from my pocket and said, “I believe this is yours,” and handed it to him.

His jaw dropped open and he screamed for his wife to come out to meet me, when he saw that all of his money was inside. His wife then screamed, also. (Fortunately, no other customers were in the store, at that time.)

He asked me what my favorite seafood was, and I told him it was lobster, so he wrapped up a dozen tails and handed them to me, smiling and saying, “Never a charge for you!”

I thanked him and left his store, happy that I was able to do something nice for him, and glad that I had found a fish market where I could shop, in the future.

The problem was that, every time I came into his store to buy some seafood, he refused to charge me. It was always free, no matter what I wanted, and when I pleaded with him to let me pay for some of my purchases, he’d get this hurt look on his face, like I was insulting him.

I finally had to stop going there, because I didn’t want to take advantage of his extreme kindess and generosity.

August 28, 2008, 4:06 PM EDT

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11 Answers

darrellsilver's avatar

Before I clicked on the full description, I was planning to write about how people are so generous and giving that it’s super-satisfying to give the money back. Your experience is extreme; I would think you could just insist on paying after a few times and they’d oblige. Maybe there’s something special they’re putting in their own cooking!

JackAdams's avatar

I no longer live in the city where my incident occurred.

The owner of the fish market was what you might call, “traditional Japanese,” and Buddhist. They (Jodo Shinshu Buddhists) have an attitude that, “You must never stop being grateful.”

They even go so far as to admonish their children to continue to show gratitude to the children of the person who did a kindness for them.

It’s crazy…

August 28, 2008, 4:42 PM EDT

augustlan's avatar

Not a large amount, but a small amount has a big impact, too. My ex found a $20 bill in our front yard. Nearby was an ATM receipt. His initial reaction was that we should keep it, as there was no name attached. Instead, I packed up my very young children and we took the receipt and the money to the bank the receipt came from. They tracked down the owner & put the money back in her account. The bank teller contacted the account holder, and told her what I’d done. The next day she showed up at my doorstep with her young child and a plant as a thank you. She was amazed that we had gone to the trouble of tracking her down just to return $20. I felt, hey $20 is $20…and it was just the right thing to do. My kids (teens & tweens now) still remember this. I think it was a valuable learning experience for all the kids involved.

JackAdams's avatar

When I was around 7 years old, I found a purse with no money in it, but some ID, showing that it belonged to a co-ed at a nearby college. The purse was returned to her and she offered a reward for my doing “the right thing,” but because nothing of monetary value was inside the purse, my mother suggested that a simple “Thank you” was enough of a reward, and I agreed with her.

This incident left an indelible impression on my psyche, and many months later, I came running into the kitchen, telling my mother about a $5 bill I found on the sidewalk.

She asked, “Where is it now? Did you spend it already?”

I said, “Heck no, Mom! I went looking for the rightful owner, and would you believe that the very first man I asked, told me that it was HIS $5? Isn’t that amazing, that the very first person I asked, would be the one who lost it?”

Mother rolled her eyes Heavenward and said, “Please give me strength…”

August 28, 2008, 5:12 PM EDT

augustlan's avatar

At 7, I’d have probably done the same thing! Maybe I should have a little talk with my girls…

JackAdams's avatar

I would. LOL

August 28, 2008, 5:18 PM EDT

Eureka's avatar

I wish I had as nice a story to tell. I was working as a aide in a nursing home – I had just gotten divorced, and my ex was not paying support for my 4 year old son. We had a man who had moved to the home from an apt in the assisted living, bringing with him a big chest of drawers. He had been in the nursing home part for over a year. He told me his family was finally coming to vist, so I got him cleaned up, and got in the chest for a clean shirt – found one still in the store package. Shook it out and a bank envelope with $1600 in it fell out. He didn’t see it. Wrestled with my conscience for a minute, then took it to the charge nurse, who counted it and sealed it in an envelope. He had gotten the money out of the bank before he moved into the home, and forgot about it. Charge nurse gave it to his family, and I heard them ask him what to do with it. He mumbled “have a party, I guess.” That money could have kept my son and I for two months, and the family not only never said thank you, they didn’t even ask who had found it. The only satisfaction I got was KNOWING I did the right thing. Karma….

JackAdams's avatar

Perhaps they thanked the “charge nurse,” not knowing it was you who found it?

Just speculating; that could happen, I would guess.

August 28, 2008, 5:53 PM EDT

JackAdams's avatar

I worked for this janitorial service, while I was going to school, and one night, a co-worker found a lot of money in an envelope, in an office we were cleaning, and he showed it to me. We counted it, and it turned out to be close to $500.

We both decided to turn it over to our boss, who was also the owner of the janitorial service, and who was on the job site with us.

As soon as we did, he told us that he was no longer going with us when we did our cleaning assignments in the future, because, “I planted this envelope, hoping you would find it, to see what you would do with it. Now that I know that the two of you can be trusted completely, there’s no reason for me to go with you. I don’t need to supervise honest people.”

We both felt over 10 feet tall, from his words of praise, and a had a terrific relationship with him, from that day forward.

August 28, 2008, 5:59 PM EDT

pwyatt's avatar

in las vegas I found a chip worth $1000.00 on my chair at a restaurant. Gave it to the hostess without a thought, but told her i wanted it if it went unclaimed. Within minutes she came back to tell me it had been claimed. I hope she was telling me the truth.

JackAdams's avatar

Yes she was.

She was the one who “claimed” it, I bet.

August 28, 2008, 8:40 PM EDT

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