“I Couldn’t Believe It When I Found All That Money”

In 2012 in Frankston, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, Jan Hansch’s sister bought some $3 placemats at an RSPCA thrift store. When Jan unfolded one of them, $500 and a Target employee’s pay envelope fell to the floor. The pay envelope was almost two decades old, and it was addressed to M.D. Fife. Jan said, “I couldn’t believe it when I found all that money. I was even more surprised to find it had been rolled up for almost 20 years.” Jan knew that she could not keep the money: “I just couldn’t because that’s obviously someone’s pay. It’s their money, not mine.” She added, “I definitely wanted to return it to its rightful owner and never once thought about hanging on to it.” Jan and her sister, Clare Fisher, started going through the Victoria telephone book, calling every Fife, and eventually they found the money’s rightful owner. Margaret Fife, now a retiree, had hidden the money and her pay envelope way back in 2003 and had forgotten the hiding place. Much later, she donated some unused items to the thrift shop where Clare had bought the placemats. Margaret gave each sister $50 as a reward and used the remaining money to fix a broken heater. She said, “I’m so grateful for their honesty. It’s a rarity these days.” By the way, in a 9 July 2012 comment to an article about this good deed that was published in the Frankston Leader, Peter Edhouse wrote, “Great story and it’s fantastic to find there are so many Honest folks around—I lost my wallet containing over $500 a few weeks ago at the Safeway supermarket Carpark in Hastings and after some frantic searching found it had been handed in to the Police station—enabling me to pay my Rent—and take this opportunity to Thank the Honesty of the Finder.”

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