Bill Troubles!

I went to the ATM at work today (which is run by the credit union on the lot) and requested $100 for my walking around money for the month. As it spit out the cash, I noticed that I got only $40. I peered into the little cash dispenser slot and pulled out a few bills that seemed to be jammed in there and ended up with a total of $160!


Of course I glanced around, looked over the machine to see if I missed an “out of order” sign and found nothing. Being the dutiful person that I am, I put my $100 into my wallet, took the extra bills over to the credit union and turned them in.

This wouldn’t happen, of course, if I wasn’t an avid reader of The Ethicist! Though, let’s face it, $60 is not much of an ethical dilemma if you’ve already got $100 in your pocket. Or maybe I’ve just got too vivid an imagination thinking that $60 belongs to some kid who just moved to LA and is crashing on someone’s livingroom floor and saving up for a place of his own so he can make it in Hollywood someday and this is every penny he’s got until his next payday.

Has anyone else ever found something valuable and turned it in? Good results or bad?

5 thoughts on “Bill Troubles!”

  1. When I lived in Santa Cruz, I found 2 one-hundred dollar bills at the bus station. This was during the summer, so it likely didn’t belong to a starving student. I had the feeling it was either drug money or someone’s pay for the week.

    I wasn’t about to just give it to the bus station, I didn’t have any idea what would happen to it. So I left a note with the station’s manager with my name and number, and letting them know I found “an amount of money”, and if anyone came looking, to give them my contact information.

    Two weeks later, with no calls, I decided I could spend the money, with a chunk going to charity. I feel bad if someone really needed it and lost it, but I think I did all I could have.

  2. About 2 years ago, I was at the movie line at Howard Hughes Center when I found an envelope with a DMV ticket valued $300 and the cash to pay it! Of course, because it was inside an addressed envelope, the money did have an owner. It was a friday night, and in the next morning we drove to the house and delivered everything to this very nice lady. She offered a reward, which I didn’t think was necessary. It was fun just to feel almost lucky, hehe.

  3. When I first moved to Tokyo I was close to broke and desperately looking for work as an Engrish teacher. I got an interim job in a whiskey bar in Ginza. Late one night on my way home I was transferring between trains in an underground tunnel. A young guy about 400 feet in front of me was lightly jogging to catch his train. A small well-worn brown leather square fell from his pocket. I yelled “Hey!” and when he turned back and saw this gaijin girl shouting indecipherable things at him he started running even faster. I reached down and scooped up the case and yelled some more but then he really put the heat on. I ran after him but he jumped onto a train and didn’t even look back. Inside the case was 1,000Y — equivalent to about $100 at the time. Due to the way the note was folded up and given the size of the case it made me think it was his emergency cash supply. I carried it with me for a long time and I always had a sense of guilt about it. If only I had spoken better Japanese … it would have explained why some crazy American was screaming at him.

  4. Mid ’80s I was heading back over the hill into the valley via Coldwater Canyon and coming around a curve there was a purse in the middle of the road. So I pulled over and retrieved it and it was full of typical purse stuff (makeup, sunglasses, scarf, gum) including a wallet with a slew of credit cards and about $160 cash. When I got home I looked up the address on the driver’s license in my Thomas Guide and found it was only a couple miles from where I lived in Van Nuys. So the next day I drove over went up and knocked on the door and I told the man that answered that I’d found this purse. You’d think I’d get a warm reception, but all I got was this chilled “hey, thanks” as he grabbed it and then shut the door. I stood there for a second thinking about tossing out a sarcastic “you’re very welcome,” but then a yelling match commenced inside between the man and I guess the owner of the purse and I just got the hell outta there, pissed that I’d not kept the cash. Weird.

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