“You’re gonna need a bigger bag.”
That was the one thought Tyler Gedelian had on his mind when a police officer carrying a small, zippered bag came to his Goodwill store in Monroe, Mich., to collect what was found inside some donated suits and a robe.
Gedelian, the 29-year-old store manager was utterly stunned last Wednesday when he and his colleague Laura Pietscher discovered envelopes containing stacks of $100 bills that totaled more than $43,000.
“We might find a quarter in somebody’s jeans,” he told the Monroe News. “But that [huge amount] blows my mind.”
Gedelian didn’t even count the Benjamins before alerting the police, and he never thought of keeping any of the cash because he said it simply didn’t belong to him.
“My biggest concern was getting the money back to the rightful owner,” he said. “I certainly can’t imagine losing that kind of money. I was so nervous having so much of someone else’s money.”
The $43,000 was all in $100 bills banded together in packs of 10, and some of the bills were dated in the 1930s.
A wallet with a name inside was discovered along with the envelopes, and police used the name to locate the owner.
That man, who asked not to be identified, explained he had been cleaning out an elderly relative’s closet and took the clothes to Goodwill. He said he never thought to check the pockets and was completely unaware of the money’s existence.
“I am really proud of those people at Goodwill,” the man said. “It makes me feel good there are people out there like that, especially in this day and age.”
Police Sgt. Chris Miller, who tallied up the cash, told the paper, “It would have been extremely easy to take the money and walk away. It’s reassuring to know there are people in this world who are willing to do the right thing.”
The owner of the cash plans to meet Gedelian and Pietscher to thank them personally.
“There aren’t many people like that today,” he said. “I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart. In this world we live in, we need more people with morals like that.”
Gedelian says there was never any other option than to turn the money in.
“There was never a question,” he said. “I don’t even think I did anything special. I did what any person should do. If it was my money and I lost it, I hope somebody would try to find me.”