Goodwill employee finds, returns $46K stashed in donation

Goodwill employee finds, returns $46K stashed in donation
Jessee Diaz said he almost tossed out the money wrapped in tinfoil. (Source: KGTV/CNN)

SAN DIEGO (KGTE/CNN) – A Goodwill employee found $46,000 in cash hidden in a donation and promptly returned the money.

Goodwill employee finds, returns $46K stashed in donation

Jessee Diaz said he never thought twice about what to do with the cash.

"It's like a museum in here, you just never know what certain things are," Diaz said.

That's how it is most days for him sorting through boxes at the Del Cerro Goodwill.

Saturday started the same way.

That's until Diaz came across a box with some type of fryer inside. He looked closer.

"In the box there was tinfoil,” Diaz said. “I almost threw it in the trash."

He said there was something strange about the box, almost suspicious. Curiosity got the better of him.

"And then when I opened it, it was five envelopes of cash," he said. "I couldn't believe it for a split second, I was like, ‘this is a lot of money, is it even real, you know, are these bills even real? ‘ "

But they were real, every one of them. He began counting it with a co-worker.

"It probably took us like 45 minutes, it was nonstop,” Diaz said. “We were like, ‘how much more?’ I was actually bored."

Some people might look at money like that and slip it right in their pocket. Who would know? After all, the people who dropped the boxes off didn't even realize.

"There's a lot of people who depend on us, and it's just the right thing to do. I didn't think twice," he said.

Tracking down who the money belonged to, well, Diaz got a lucky break there, too.

Goodwill’s loss prevention team took the time to check for receipts and there was a match.

A 79-year-old woman's husband had just died. Her daughter-in-law took the boxes to Goodwill to help clear out clutter never knowing the money was stashed away.

Diaz was there to give it back.

"She was like 'Oh my gosh,' unbelievable," Diaz said.

And when asked would he make the same decision again, Diaz never hesitated.

"For sure if it happened here again I would return it right away," he said.

The family says the saved money was going to be used for a trip to Japan but over time they collected more than what was needed for the jaunt.