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Kind thrift store worker finds $5,000 in a donation bag, tracks down the owner to return it

Now, that's a Good Samaritan.

thrift store, burlingame california, kindness

Clothes on a rack at a thrift store.

Thrift stores are an excellent place for shoppers to get a deal and, occasionally, find something extremely rare that’s worth a lot of money. CBS News reports that the owner of Pick of the Litter thrift store in Burlingame, California, just outside of San Francisco, came across an extraordinary discovery in a bag of donated clothes and did the right thing by giving it back.

Pick of the Litter is a thrift store that sells various second-hand items, including clothes, household items, art, jewelry and watches, books, records and musical instruments.

Oliver Jolis, Pick of the Litter’s owner, was organizing a bag of donated clothes when something unexpected happened. "Money just started falling out," Jolis told CBS News. "It kept falling and falling. I was like, 'This is a decent amount of money here.’”


When Jolis counted up the cash, it came to $5,000. The donor must have put the money in with the clothes for safekeeping and then forgotten.

But instead of pocketing the cash or splitting it with his coworkers, Jolis and the other folks at the thrift store got to work trying to find the person who mistakenly donated the money.

Luckily, they left a clue to their identity in the bag of donated clothes.

Jolis found an old scrap of paper in the bag with car insurance information. The information was enough to track down the person who donated the bag of clothing. They realized it was a woman who regularly donates to the store. The woman told CBS News that she prefers to remain anonymous.

The thrift store staff reached out to her and asked a series of questions to be sure she was the person who dropped off the bag. She passed the test with flying colors.

"I said come on down I've got something for you. She came back, and I gave her $5,000 in a paper bag and said, 'Thank you for supporting us,'" Jolis said. "He could have just put the money in his pocket. Nobody would have known. But he didn't," said the woman who donated the clothes.

CBS News says that Jolis’ display of kindness is par for the course at the thrift shop, where all proceeds go to the Peninsula Humane Society.

These days, shelter pets in the Bay Area need all the help they can get. The recent moratorium on evictions, mixed with a shaky economy, has forced many to surrender their pets to local shelters. A recent heatwave in the Bay made things even worse. Many dogs that belong to unhoused people suffered burned feet and paws after walking on the hot asphalt and concrete and were surrendered to shelters for treatment.

For Jolis, doing the right thing and returning the money to the woman who accidentally donated it was easy. It was just a case of giving back to someone who had given so much to Pick of the Litter.

"We're grateful for all the donations we get, so it was a win-win," said Jolis.

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