Restaurant Worker Finds $32K, Restores Faith in Humanity
It was a California man's life savings—and he got it back from Applebee's
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2015 11:14 AM CST
An Applebee's location in St. Peters, Mo., is seen in this Sept. 26, 2007, file photo.   (AP Photo/Tom Gannam, file)

(Newser) – A California woman and her mom are thankful for an eagle-eyed (and honest) Applebee's worker after they left a pouch with $32,000 behind at the restaurant. Erica Gonzalez tells WXIA that she and her mom had taken her dad's entire life savings to the bank to be put in a safety deposit box, but the bank said there were none available. So the two women ran some errands and then grabbed dinner at a Fresno Applebee's—but when they left the restaurant, they forgot the money, which Gonzalez tells YourCentralValley.com was earmarked to pay for her nursing education and to buy her dad a house in Mexico. When they got home and realized they forgot the cash, "our hearts dropped," Gonzalez says. "I didn't think we were going to find that money."

But an Applebee's employee happened to spot the pouch at the booth where Gonzalez and her mother had dined and turned it in to his manager, who called 911. "I think [the dispatcher] thought I was kidding, because she said, 'That much cash, are you sure?'" Carrie Hellyer tells the site. "And I said, 'Yes, three of us counted it.'" Gonzalez says she's "so glad they found it," while Hellyer notes that the employee who discovered it doesn't want to be IDed—he told her he turned it over because it was the right thing to do. (A worker found $100K in a bag at a California Burger King.)