Tyler Gedelian regularly checks the pockets of donated clothing at his Monroe, Michigan, Goodwill store for loose change.
On Wednesday, the 29-year-old store manager and his coworker, Goodwill job coach Laura Pietscher, found more than just a few coins and crumpled receipts: they discovered stacks of $100 bills, stuffed in blue envelopes, in the pockets of some old suits and a robe.
"We were getting lots of donations, and as I sorted through it, I saw a blue envelope sticking out of a bathrobe. I took it out, figuring it was garbage," Gedelian told Detroit News.
"But when I opened the envelope, lo and behold, it was several bands of $100 bills. We might normally find a dollar, or 25 cents, but mostly it's old Kleenexes and grocery lists."
The cash totaled more than $43,000.
Without hesitating, Gedelian called the police.
"My biggest concern was getting the money back to the rightful owner," he told the Monroe Evening News. I certainly can't imagine losing that kind of money. I was so nervous having so much of someone else’s money."
Because a wallet was found among the bills, the police were able to track down the owner of the cash. The man, who asked to remain anonymous, said he was cleaning out an elderly relative's closet and donated the clothing to Goodwill without knowing the money even existed.
The man was shocked that his relative had so much cash stashed away — and that Gedelian would be so honest about finding it.
"I am really proud of those people at Goodwill," the man said. "It makes me feel good there are people out there like that, especially in this day and age."
The man plans to thank Gedelian and Pietscher in person soon.
"There aren’t many people like that today," he said. "I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart. In this world we live in, we need more people with morals like that."
In 2012, a man donated a pair of old shoes to Goodwill without realizing the his wife had stashed their entire life savings — about $3,300 — inside the footwear.
The store put aside the cash, hoping the owners would return for it. They did.