Norman, OK

Norman Goodwill Employee Finds and Returns $42,000

Synthia Stark with the money and her boss— Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma

In Norman, Oklahoma, a newly-minted worker at the local Goodwill found many stacks of $100 bills. These stacks were tucked neatly inside two old sweaters. The worker was so thrown off and amused by the situation, that she first thought that the bills were somehow fake at first. 

After some time had passed, the store worker quickly realized that these bills were absolutely real. In fact, the cash totalled up to $42,000! The worker couldn’t believe her eyes.

The store worker’s name is Andrea Lessing. Andrea had been busy sorting clothes (as one normally does while working there) and was specifically watching out for various stains and rips in the clothes donated when she felt some lumps.

It turns out Andrea first thought that there were some books hidden in there, but found the money instead. The very first thoughts that came to mind were that of her young six-year-old daughter. You see, her daughter’s birthday was coming up, and every good mom wants to see the best in their children.

Andrea had reportedly told news outlets: 

“Her birthday is coming up in July, so I can actually give her an amazing birthday party.”

Then, Andrea struggled with the concept of actually following through with that. Apparently, Andrea is a big believer in karma, and couldn’t imagine keeping the money for herself. In fact, Andrea didn’t want to hold onto the money any longer.

As Andrea told others:

“With every decision I make, I have to think about whether I would want my daughter to follow in my footsteps.”

Andrea ended up reporting the lost cash to her boss. Through Andrea’s help, the Goodwill store was able to track down the original owner of the money. They were able to do so because some identifiable documents were also nestled with the money. It’s great that this documentation was there — otherwise, the owners wouldn’t have been found!

The money Andrea found— Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma

It turns out that the owners hadn’t realized that they left the money inside the clothes they donated. They totally forgot that they left it there. In the end, they handed Andrea $1000 in return, which apparently made Andrea cry tears of happiness.

“I didn’t return the money expecting a reward or expecting to be on the news, I just believe if you do something good, it will come back to you eventually. And it did.”

Lacey Lett, the Director of Communications at Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma had apparently said: 

“Since we gave her the reward on Thursday, I spoke to her yesterday, and she is still in shock — and awed by their generosity.”

Meanwhile, Jim Priest, the CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma wrote:

“Andrea showed integrity when she turned in the money and Goodwill showed its integrity as an organization by tracing the donors so we could return the money. Andrea could have kept the money and Goodwill could have kept the money, but integrity is doing the right thing and it’s a core value we strive to live out every day.”

As for Andrea, she probably didn’t expect to get this level of semi-fame. All she did was work hard, did some back sorting, and accidentally stumbled on the money. As the rumors have suggested, there are likely other similar stories of people accidentally leaving money behind across many Oklahoma Goodwill stores, and other Goodwill stores across America.

Apparently, there may have been situations similar to this in the past. Either way, Andrea is likely looking forward to rewarding her daughter with one amazing birthday. As for now, anything is possible, even in great places like Norman, Oklahoma. 

Comments / 2

Published by

Writer & Researcher | Therapist-in-Training | Crisis Responder | Writing wholesome stories for the masses.

New York City, NY

More from Synthia Stark

Comments / 0