BY JAKE MILLER • FOR THE JOURNAL • SEPTEMBER 30, 2009
MARSHFIELD -- A recent pair of old shoes donated to the Marshfield Goodwill smelled like cold, hard cash.
And it's left two employees at the store surprised nearly two weeks after finding about $13,000 tucked under a pair of old dress shoes, and returning it to its original owner.
The box had come in with a normal delivery of used goods, but as Jerry Schmitz, 30, and Len Nyen, 55, unpacked the shoes -- each pair is taken out of boxes and bound by rubber bands -- they came across crisp $100 bills, all from 1981, packed in a small yellow envelope.
"My mind kind of went blank for a couple minutes," said Schmitz of Spencer, who has worked as a donation attendant since June. "And I didn't really know what to think. I guess I was in a state of shock, you know."
It would have been easy to pocket the money, but Nyen and Schmitz took the box to their manager, Dan Linzmeier, a move he said didn't surprise him -- though the contents did.
"I was thinking I was going to find one of three things," Linzmeier said. He's seen everything from dead animals to handguns.
Linzmeier, who has worked for Goodwill for about five years, said on a weekly basis employees might find enough loose change or $1 bills that add up to no more than $20.
The money has been returned to its owner thanks to a little investigative work. Using receipts that were in the shoebox, the men traced the information to a receipt they had written for the donor.
The woman, who does not want to be named, said in a press release that her husband, now in a nursing home, grew up during the Depression and always kept some money at home. She never knew about the $13,000, and said he must have forgotten about it.
Getting the money back to the woman was "amazing," the men said. The woman met them in person, Nyen said, so she can say 'hi' if she ever sees them around town. She also gave them a "generous reward," he said.
"My partner and I both worked Friday and the following Saturday," Nyen, of Marshfield said. "The Saturday morning I said, 'How do you feel?' He said, 'I feel good.' I said, 'I feel good, too.'"
Schmitz said there was never a thought of keeping the money for themselves.
"I knew it wasn't mine," he said. "And if I would've lost that kind of money I would hope someone would be trustworthy (enough) to give it back."
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Tags: goodwill, shoes, money returned, honesty,
Location: Marshfield, Missouri, United States (load item map)
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