If you found $1,500 what would you do?
For Susan Bombase, there was no question: Get it back to its rightful owner.
Bombase, 52, came across the cache of $50 bills in a package of stockings she picked up at Once Again Consignment Boutique in Red Deer.
She immediately contacted the store’s owner Jeanette Mitten who spent the next couple of weeks going back through records and client lists to find who the money belonged to.
On Monday, the two ladies finally returned the money to a Lacombe senior, who asked to be kept out of the story.
“Finding something that doesn’t really belong to you, especially cash, I have a joy in being able to give the money back to the owner,” said Bombase. “The first thing I thought was, ‘I have to give back the cash.’”
$1,500 is a lot of money to someone like Bombase, a Philippines native who immigrated to Canada 24 years ago and now has citizenship.
She works two jobs, one at the Village Mall A&W, owned by Mitten’s husband Wayne Mitten, and next door at Dollarama, while her husband works at a bottle depot.
Mitten was in the process of packing up the boutique, preparing to move the store to a new location at 4909-48th St. She had received a few large donations of older women’s clothing that did not quite work with her store and so she marked them for donation to Dress for Success. But before she moved them on, she gave a number of employees like Bombase the opportunity to come in and pick through the lot.
Bombase chose a few items, including what appeared to be a new package of stockings, of which there were a large number.
When she got home, she put the clothes, still in the bag, in her room and took a few days to get around to going through her selections.
When she came back to the stockings it was then that she realized the package was rather thick, thinking it must have been a multi-pack, but then discovered an envelope with 30 $50 bills inside.
She phoned up Mitten immediately and brought them to work the next day.
Mitten was not surprised at all by the honesty of Bombase, who she has gotten know over the last 17 years.
“In this day and age so few people would do something like that, it’s just not in the common books anymore,” she said.
It took Mitten more than a week to track down the owner, and then another week to schedule the time to get out to Lacombe.
When the two ladies got out there, however, the owner was overjoyed with the return of her money.
“She was so grateful,” said Bombase. The woman rewarded her with $100.
The woman said she now remembers hiding the money with the intention of one day passing it on to her children, but over time forgot about where she stashed it.
When her grown children, who don’t live in the area, helped her move to a seniors home, they donated the clothes to the boutique, not realizing all they were donating.
In the process, a new friendship was formed between the ladies, as Mitten, who is from Sweden originally and rarely gets to see her own family, says she’s going to adopt her as her mother.
“This lady, she was so appreciative, she had tears in her eyes, and I don’t think it was just about the money,” said Mitten.