Good Samaritan Returns $500 Found in Thrift Store Purchase

Melissa Knowles
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Finding hidden treasure is a surefire way to perk up your day. But what if your treasure could help out a total stranger, too? An Australian woman named Jan Hansch was setting her table with napkins she had purchased from a secondhand store when an envelope fell out of one of them. The envelope contained a pay stub from Target and $500 AUD (about $511 USD). The pay stub was from 1993 and addressed to M.D. Fife.

Hansch decided to look for the rightful owner of the money. At first, she tried calling Target, but that was a dead-end. So she and her sister, Clare Fisher, searched the phone book and came across the name Margaret Dorothy Fife. When they called her, a surprised Fife confirmed that she had indeed worked for Target at that time.

Fife was shocked that the money was returned to her some 19 years later and plans to use the unexpected funds to repair her broken heater. She invited the sisters over for tea and rewarded each of them with $50. "I'm so grateful for their honesty," she said.


Apparently, Australia is filled with a lot of good Samaritans. Conventional wisdom says the satisfaction that comes from performing a good deed is the greatest reward. However, an Australian video making its way around the Web set out to show that a good Samaritan should also be publicly recognized and rewarded in a very personalized way.

The stunt, filmed by hidden cameras, involved placing sunglasses around a shopping mall. When shoppers turned them in at a temporary lost-and-found booth, the booth worker would ask for the person's name. Meanwhile, their photo was secretly taken.

As each person continued shopping, his or her name and photo would appear on video screens, on posters, and even on a cake in praise of the honesty. The good Samaritans were also given flowers and a round of applause as a banner saying "Honesty shouldn't go unrewarded" unfurled in the center of the mall.

The unwitting participants' reactions ranged from surprised to downright giddy as they saw their faces and names posted around the shopping center. National Australia Bank, who made the video, wrote, "We've seen so many Australians demonstrating their honesty, we'd thought we'd say thanks in the biggest way possible." In addition, the video reasserts the bank's current slogan, "More give, less take."