Banks and ATMs have been targets of would-be robbers for decades. Old heist movies feature bank robberies, and certain communities know the pain that is a credit card skimmer.
Money makes people a little crazy, and the lengths people will go to get more of it — by whatever means necessary — is often surprising.
But when it practically falls right in your lap? Giving it back would surprise some people too, but that’s what George Condash did when faced with a peculiar dilemma earlier this week.
On Tuesday, the Westland, Michigan, resident was at the drive-through ATM at Wayne Westland Federal Credit Union when he spotted a box sitting slightly in the road.
At first, Condash just thought it was garbage, and considerately decided to move it so it wouldn’t get in anyone else’s way.
“I drove right around here and it was sitting about right here,” Condash later told WDIV-TV. “Well, first, I just thought it was trash.”
“For some reason it hit me that, ‘Why don’t I just pick this up so no one else has to swerve around it?'”
So he got out and carried out his thoughtful act. When he picked up the box, though, he realized this trash was actually a treasure.
“I picked it up and noticed a tag stating that there was $40K,” Condash explained. Inside was a stash of cold, hard cash. Not quite $40,000 — it “only” contained $27,000 — but he didn’t know that.
What he knew was that this was a lot of money, and he had a choice to make.
For others, that choice might have been riddled with selfishness or thoughts of how they could use the money, but not for Condash.
He got back in his car with the money, which may have looked suspicious at first, but it was only so that he could move his car out of the way and closer to the credit union entrance. Again, his thoughtfulness was on display.
Then he went in with the cash and walked up to the front desk.
“I said, ‘Is there a reward for $40,000?’ And I put it on their counter and they just looked dumbfounded,” he said.
The credit union was surprised and grateful, and rewarded Condash’s honesty and integrity with an unnamed token of gratitude before sharing the story on Facebook.
“This is why WWFCU members are the best!” the credit union posted on Wednesday. “A Good Samaritan found $27k and turned it in!”
“Looks like our story was on CNN yesterday!” it added on Thursday. “We even heard from a reporter in Poland about it!”
“That was a lot of money that could have resulted in a significant loss, and we just wanted to give him a token of our appreciation,” Alicia Stewart, cash manager, told CNN.
Security footage showed what had happened: A security guard had been unloading cash from the ATM and accidentally left one of the cassettes of cash behind. User error, but there’s no word on the current employment status of the employee.
“I would hope that the average person would turn that in, but not everybody thinks that way,” Stewart added. “Not everybody is cognizant of the cameras around them.”
Had the finder decided to run with the money, the credit union said it simply would have used the footage to aid police in tracking the culprit down. Thankfully, Condash was the one to find it and he clearly has a heart of gold.
“It’s not mine and any honest person, I would hope, would take it back in,” he said.
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