Wal-Mart employee finds and returns $20,000 to customers

Mike Krumboltz
The Upbeat

Ever see someone drop a $20 bill on the street? Pocketing it can be mighty tempting. Now, put yourself in the shoes of 32-year-old Wal-Mart employee Bismark Mensah, who stumbled upon an envelope with $20,000 inside.

Mensah, who makes $9.19 an hour at the Wal-Mart in Federal Way, Wash., didn't just return the cash to Leona Wisdom and Gary Elton -- he sprinted after the couple to catch them before they drove off. The Seattle Times recently did a profile on Mensah. The incident occurred last October.

After he gave Wisdom the envelope, Mensah said, "She was like 'Wow! Tears are coming out." Mensah said the grateful woman tried to offer him a reward but he refused. The money was going to be used for a down payment on a house, according to the Seattle Times. They had cash because they didn't want to wait for a personal check to clear.

File photo of Walmart store (Chris Hondros/Getty)
File photo of Walmart store (Chris Hondros/Getty)

Mensah, who immigrated from Ghana in 2012, had been helping the couple load their purchases in their car. After they began to drive off, he spotted the envelope in the cart. He could tell what was in the envelope because it had a clear address window.

Was he tempted, even for a little bit? "My conscience wouldn’t allow it," he told the Seattle Times. "I couldn’t even drive home if I did that." Wisdom said she called Wal-Mart twice to make sure management was aware of Mensah’s honesty.

The selfless move earned Mensah a commendation from his employer. He was recently given Wal-Mart’s national 2013 “Integrity in Action Award.”

While this may seem like a one in a million occurrence, the Web is full of examples of people going out of their way to be honest. Late last year, an Austrian bus driver returned a bag with over $510,000 inside. And this past February, a casino worker came across $10,000 in a restroom. She turned it right in.