A few days ago, while pumping gas at Sheetz, I found a twenty dollar bill. It was crumpled, like a wounded bird, lying on the pavement between the pumps and the store. It’s been really windy up here, so I stomped on it with my stomping foot; I always stomp with my right, never my left.
Anyway, here’s how my thoughts went:
- Oooh, money! And it’s a twenty!! Hell yeah.
- I’d be really angry if I lost twenty bucks. It wouldn’t ruin my life, but it would certainly ruin my day. Should I try to find the person it belongs to? It would be the right thing to do.
- Man, the crumpled state of this money really bugs me. I bet the person who dropped it lives a life of self-created chaos, and just stuffs things in their pockets like they’re bagging leaves in the side yard. I bet they lose things all the time, because their life is a mess. So… if I pocket this shit it serves ’em right. They need to get it together, and until they do there will be consequences. Like losing this twenty bucks I’m about to call my own.
- No, I’m justifying bad behavior. I’ll stand here for five minutes or so, and if I see a person frantically looking around for something, I’ll turn the money over to them.
And that’s what I did. But there was nobody looking, so I was a tiny bit richer. I suspect the person is so scattered they didn’t notice the money was gone for hours, or maybe not at all. I always have a general idea of how much cash is in my pocket, but this money-mangler probably has no clue.
I can’t remember finding a twenty before. It might be my new record. I’ve found wads of bills — like a five and three ones, or something. Sorta like the photo above. But never a twenty.
What about you? What’s the most valuable thing you’ve ever found? It doesn’t necessarily have to be cash. Please tell us about it in the comments.
Did you experience a moral dilemma at all? I always worry it’s some little old lady, who lives on $341 a month. Will the pocketing of this cash cause someone to dine on Alpo for a week?
Please tell us about your greatest groundscores, in the comments section below.
And I’m going to work now, an hour early for a meeting.
I’ll see you guys again soon.
Have a great day!
Now playing in the bunker
Treat yourself to something cool at Amazon!
Holy crap! I’m first and I read the update! Woo hoo!
Found a 50 dollar bill many years ago, back in my much younger and poorer days. There was no dilemma for me, it helped keep the utilities on.
A kid I knew in high school was helping an old neighbor lady by raking her leaves in her backyard and doing other odd chores outside for her. One day, she called and asked him to come over and dig a hole in the backyard for her cat, who she had been euthanized that day for cancer. She pointed to a spot near where other animals were and he began digging. He hit what he though was a rock and couldn’t get it out. He got his dad from next door to bring a larger shovel and together they pulled out a medium sized safe. Inside was old jewelry and about $15k in cash. The old lady had lived there for 30 years and had no memory of that safe. Her husband had died several years prior (not buried in the backyard, I hope!) and she didn’t think it was his. They took the jewelry (which was in good condition) to appraisers and one of the watches was estimated at $5k. They reported it to the police, waited about six months or so when she received a letter basically saying “Congrats, it’s yours now.” She handed $10k over to my friend to “thank” him for all his help to an old, lonely lady. He had never before charged her for his services and had a hard time taking the cash. On pressing though, his parents had him deposit it to use in his future and he still did work for her until she was sent to a home. When she was sent away, she first told my friend and his dad to go through the old house, including under floorboards and the attic to see if the person who hid the safe also hid any other treasures. They found a dead rat or two, but nothing else. When she died she left my friend’s dad the watch. I thought that was pretty cool.
Me? I found a quarter at Target the other day. Does that count?!
Good Afternoon Surf Reporters…
I once found a crisp new 50 dollar bill at the base of a tree on the golf course. That paid for my round and several tasty beverages afterwards.
More recently, I was at the local A-Plus mini mart and found someone’s credit card lying on the ground. I did I quick Google search of the name and found she lived not far from the gas station. I called her, and when she came to pick up the card, she handed me a card in an envelope. Inside was a hundred bucks!!
I tried to refuse the money, but she said I deserved it for being honest, earnest in tracking her down, and saving her the trouble of having to cancel the card. After a few minutes of her insistence, I took the cash.
That makes me think of the recent story about the couple who found all those gold coins. I guess the U.S. Treasury is claiming they were stolen way back in the day.
Otis Day says
actually the treasury says they don’t have any record of any thefts. So the coins have been declared to them as ‘finders keepers’.
I once found a twenty dollar bill caught in the bushes planted around a parking garage. I was on my way to lunch and that paid for it. See, there is such a thing as a free lunch.
Rat Bastard says
I found a $50 bill outside of a Fisher’s Big Wheel department store (Western PA reference, there) when I was about 8 years old. My Mom handled it the same way, we waited around for a while. The $50 ended up going home with me.
Sort of a “found” score: Called about an ad in the local classifieds: “Guitar: $90.” It ended up being a mid-60s Gibson Melody Maker that had been in this old guy’s attic in a garbage bag, and was pretty damned mint. This was just before the vintage guitar craze and ebay mess that has put guitars like that out of reach for most musicians.
JR in sammamish says
Oh man I miss the Big Wheel!!!
Bill in WV says
I found $50 in a man’s change purse one time. Held onto it for a week as my dad suggested, just in case someone claimed it, thought it was mine, then some old fuck named Parnell Rigsby stopped by and asked my dad about it and I had to give it back. Sumbitches.
I found a $20 bill about 20 years ago, in a parking lot. I felt guilty keeping it, but I knew there was no way to find out whose it was.
The best thing I ever found was in 1966; a stack of LP’s someone put out for the trash in Va. Beach. One was Doc Watson, and I had never heard of him before that. Still play that one.
Most I found was a 20 on a rainy night in a Walmart parking lot. It was pouring and I was walking into the store and there was a soaking wet 20 stuck to the ground. Picked it up and kept moving. I’m broke as shit so any money I find, Im keeping it because I can use it just as much if not more than the next guy. That’s my theory. Same as if I lost money, I wouldn’t be expecting anybody to try and track me down.
Billy Joel says
Yesterday I found a nickel in the outfield of a baseball field of a local park. I kept it. True story!
I found three 20 dollar bills lying on the sidewalk in front of a 7-11 late one night. There was absolutely no one around outside or in the store, so I kept it.
My biggest find was when I was a teenager helping to clean out the contents of an old house. I found two World Series programs, from the 1914 and 1916 series in near perfect condition. Thirty years later, I sold them on ebay. Got $600.00 for the 1916 Red Sox program and $1300.00 for the 1914 Braves program.
I found 3 twenties as well once under a table in an area just a few feet from an ATM. I assume someone just lost their recent withdraw. I waited and looked around for about ten minutes and then just bailed.
A friend of mine found 10,000 under a rug in the home they just bought. They only paid 70k for the house. The previous house owner was deceased so they just put it in their pocket.
This isn’t really a true “groundscore”, but still a good haul:
When I was a kid I had an alcoholic neighbor. One summer day when I was about 7 (circa 1975) I was playing in the yard while my neighbor and his buddies were settling in to a day of hard drinking. The beverage of the day was whiskey but they soon ran out of mix, so they called me over to the fence, gave me $5, and sent me to the store for a bottle of pop. When I got back they told me to keep the change. This scenario played out for the rest of the afternoon: sometimes it was cigarettes, sometimes it was chips, but mostly pop for mix. As the day wore on the $5 bills turned to $10s then $20s.
By late afternoon I pocketed close to $100, and had eaten more candy than Augustus Gloop, when my mom finally clued into what was going on and put a stop to it (we lived in a small town and several of these gentlemen had reputations for violence when drunk). The money was also confiscated and put into my savings account.
Bill in WV says
I had a paper route when I was 13 and absolutely HATED collecting every two weeks from customers. Most were honest and nice, but a few were complete assholes, one of which was a drunk guy who bitched if his paper was not on the mat on his porch by a certain time of the day. Not just on the porch, it HAD to be on the mat. I made sure I fulfilled his dynamic expectations of a teenage paper delivery boy and got that damned paper on the mat each day by 4:00. I went to collect from him one night and he comes to the door completely shitfaced. I told him he owed $4, so he stumbled around (a lot) and finally gave me four bills. But, to my surprise, when I was walking back down his sidewalk, he had given me a $20, a $10, a $5 and a $1 (the $1 was on the outside of the doubled-over bills. So, I stood there and thought about it, and finally said SCREW HIM, he had caused me so much grief and was a friggin’ drunk, so it served him right to screw the pooch on payment. Into my pocket that $32 windfall went.
As a previous paper boy for about 5 years I can totally relate. One of the biggest drinkers on my route was the local catholic Monsignor; one empty case of 16 oz millers per week. He rarely tipped me.
I’m sorry, but as “big drinkers” go that’s a pretty weak performance.
I applaud the Willy Wonka reference! 🙂
I found a $5 bill while sweeping the floor at McDonald’s in the 1970s. Of course, back then $5 was a significant amount of money to a teenager.
More recently, I found about $100 worth of postage stamps (!) on a sidewalk in DC.
Were you walking behind Dan Rostenkowski by chance?
Those stamps might last you several years. I like the Dan Rostenkowski reference.
They did. For the next few years I used them to pay bills.
Rostenkowski – there’s a name I’d forgotten all about.
Otis Day says
LOL about Rosty!
I once was assigned to clean out a storage locker for a company I was working as a part time temp at. I found 3 boxes of pre-stamped letters -750 total. That was a great find as I was between jobs and needed to save every penny (this was pre-internet days when we relied on snail mail to send resumes!)
WB in OH says
Five minutes and google search I now understand the Rosty reference. Apparently I was to busy chasing skirts to watch much news in 1994.
Jesus, has it really been 20 years? I was kinda thinking it was like…7. Ugh.
Phantom Railfan says
Over a period of about six months in 1999-2000, I found a total of around $400 blowing around the parking lot and crumpled under the parking blocks with all the other trash at my apartment complex. As I was flat broke at the time, I never even considered trying to find who it belonged to or where it came from; most of the bills were worn and heavily soiled, and some of them were over 20 years old. Given the neighborhood I lived in at the time, I have little doubt it was from some criminal enterprise or another. But more than once, I was able to buy groceries with what I found, so…
I had a college professor whose son saw an ad in the paper for ‘an old car’ for $1500. When he called her, the story was basically, that this old lady had this old car in her garage since her husband died. She didn’t even know what it was. She’d hung on to it because it was her husband’s baby and he’d bought it brand new when he came back from WWII but she’d always hated it. They’d pretty much only ever drove it to church because it was so special to him. Anyway, he died and she never drove it again; just covered and let it sit because her son wouldn’t let her sell it. Now her son died and she was selling because “she hated that ugly car from the second he bought it”.
He decided to go look at. Turns out it was a freaking Tucker. If you’re not familiar with the Tucker, there were less than a hundred made (something like 60) and back then they were worth upwards of a 100k. So my prof and his son, let her know that it was worth more than $1500 and asked if she still wanted to sell. She said she did because she hated that blasted car. They offered her more (maybe 5K), she said no because she said $1500 and it wouldn’t be right to raise the price. So they got a $100,000 car for $1500.
Decent find for a 21 year old kid and a jack ass chem professor…
Stephanie C says
When I was about 7 years old, my sister and I were playing outside and went across the street together to ask if a neighbor friend wanted to play, too. I got there first and found a $50 bill. I started screaming and jumping up and down, waving it around until my father came outside to see what all the ruckus was about. He promptly clamped his hand over my mouth and dragged me in to the house, with the $50 in my hand. My mother made me “share” it with my sister AND my brother (who wasn’t even THERE when I found it!)…we got to go to S&J, a jeans store that also sold toys, cool knee socks, etc. I remember buying a big doll and some of those knee socks, but don’t know what my siblings bought. I’m sure my parents “kept the change”.
Another time, I was at the mall, Christmas shopping. This guy walking in a group in front of me had a huge rolled up wad of cash fall out of his back pocket, right at my feet. There was nothing to do but catch up to him, tap him on the shoulder and give it back to him. He turned the palest shade of white that I had never seen before and was very grateful that I was honest. No reward, though. Fuck that guy.
I found a dollar bill taped to a gas pump a few weeks ago, someone had written “take this and pass it forward” on it. So a few days later I taped a dollar near the door at Walgreens. Never have found anything valuable. I take that back, I got a silver coin while geocaching. You guys know about geocaching? I love it.
I used to always run into a guy in Curacao who was geocaching. I’d go down on a dive trip and he’d invariably be staying at my dive hotel on business to work on some satellite installation or something. My brother and I would try to convince him to get is SCUBA certs and he’d try to convince us to get into geocaching.
I bought an old hardbound copy of “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” at a used bookstore that had a $50 bill in it.
My friend and I were working in our NYC office running this Legal Summit for about 85 attorneys. We had to be there around 7:00 AM and put in a long, long day. Before the actual event started, I went to the ladies room and as I was walking to the sink to wash my hands, my heel went down on something hard and almost shot out form under me. I looked to see what the hell I almost went ass over tea kettle on and saw it was a diamond earring. I put it in my purse so I could wait and find out where Security was located once the official work day got underway.
Several hours later, I was circulating among the guests when I heard some lady crying down the hall A particular bitch rolled her eyes and said something about “Rita is STILL crying about that goddamn earring???” when I remembered about the bathroom incident. I got the earring, followed the sobbing and tapped this lady on the shoulder. The look of relief and pure joy on her face was unbelievable. At first she couldn’t even talk. She just threw her arms around me and cried her eyes out.
Turns out her husband had given her those earrings on their wedding day. Gorgeous rock, I might add. That one earring was worth about $1500. … Sigh!
Another time I found 2 twenties rolled up. That I kept.
out side of the Forum (in L.A.) in the mid 60’s I found a diamond and platinum bracelet. We had gone to see the Ice Capades and it was just laying on the ground right outside. Looked for weeks for an ad in the LA times and nothing! So about 20 years later sold it for $15,000.00.
This is super-duper long, but it’s one of the best ‘found treasure’ stories I’ve read. It’s about a dude who found one of the greatest troves of vintage comics ever:
Wow, Beck, that’s a hell of a fascinating story even though I only read 14 or 15 pages of it. It also makes me glad I never embraced the “collecting” hobby; I’m enough of a pack rat as it is. Thanks for the link.
A couple years ago I was leaving a gas station one morning after work. As I pulled out from the pump I spotted a folded up bill laying just past the pumps. Stopped my bike, leaned over and grabbed it. Turned out it was a $100 dollar bill. I spent it a couple days later at a grocery store. The next day there was an article in the local paper. Seems someone had been seeding gas station parking lots with counterfeit hundreds, to deflect attention away from themselves as they went about the business of spending what they kept. I was just glad (after the fact) the clerk at the store didn’t have one of those bill checking pens.
Lucie in Tampa says
Found a wad of money at a concert. 5 crisp 100 American dollar bills & a 20 & 5 dollar Canadian all together. I belive it mayhave belonged to the asshole who was being a dick by crowd surfing & kept kicking me in the head with his boot. I got it looked around for a while for someone looking like life just went bad. I saw the dick leaving the venue drunk as hell all over a girl who looked irratated by him. that wa slike 3 years ago & I still have the canadian 20.
july 1977 cleveland stadium pink floyd just starts the show been there all day low on drugs got to take a piss and watch two guys grab this tall skinny guy and put him on the wall a start searching him the two guys are cops ,I watch and notice skinny guys right hand put something against wall and the two cops grab him and haul him off . i walk over to see what skinny dude put against wall and it had slid down to floor i pick it up and cup it in my hand and get outta the hallway , back to my friends. i slowly unfold this white piece of paper and lo and behold its two sheets o brown blotter acid about 5 or 6 hundred hits . the party lasted 5 more days we still talk about that
Jersey Scott says
Back when I running a video store my first customer of the day one morning was a guy who came in and bought a few used VHS tapes. This guy wasn’t a regular customer so he didn’t have a rental account with us and he paid with cash so I had no way of tracking him down after he left — too bad for him because after he left I went around to the front of the counter to re-stock the candy and I found the hundred dollar bill he dropped. He had left several minutes earlier and there was no sign of him up & down the strip mall where my store was located. I put the hundy in an envelope and put it in the store safe but after a week went by and he didn’t return so I said ” Helloooo, Mr. Franklin !”
son of sam says
I found about 3/4 oz. of good pot at a rest stop about 1979 with a bunch of friends on our way to a ski trip. nice.
OMG – my friends and I found a bag cutting through a Mobil gas station. Janet did a quick knee bend and gave us that “KEEP MOVING” look. I think we weer around 16 or 17 years old. WEEEEEEEEE!
Mrs. L. Bangs says
I found a $20 a week ago myself! Was on the floor of the doughnut place when I stepped up to the counter. Nobody looking for it, so I picked it up. Felt so guilty about it, I have it sitting in the cup holder of the car and will pass it along to the next homeless person I meet at a traffic light.. I think if I spend it on something for me (like another doughnut) karma will come back to get me (like I’ll choke to death on said doughnut). Karma is testing me, haven’t run into the usual cast of guys with signs when I’ve been out lately.
cross lanes curmudgeon says
While watching a Reds game on TV in an apartment I shared with three other college classmates, a neighborhood dog named Muttley walked into the room, jumped up on a sofa, and dropped a slightly chewed and slobbery — but perfectly acceptable — ounce bag of weed on the cushion. He had his fill of junk food that day.
Carla Mo says
about 5 years ago i was leaving my ‘moonlighting’ job around 10 in the evening…walking across the parking lot of this fine retail establishment…i find a ‘wad’ of about 10 ‘pick 3’ lottery tickets…tossed out by a dejected gambler i suspected… Picked them up…got home…checked the numbers… and one was a 150 dollar winner. :)…. whoo hoo!.
I find money quite regularly actually. It might have something to do with the fact I am such a miserable prick and don’t want to look at anyone, so I’m always looking on the ground. You’d be amazed at how many people walk right over top of a 20 without seeing it.
Most valuable would probably be a 3/8″ drive snap-on ratchet. Use it regularily..
When I was much younger, about 18 or so, I pulled up to the drive-thru at my bank, pulled out the tube and there was a whole butt-load of cash in it. So I sat there in my car for what seemed like forever but was really only a few seconds, trying to think of what to do. The final resting place of my thoughts was that there may be security cameras filming the area and I would get caught. So then I did the “right” thing and alerted the teller. Am I guilty-honest or possibly a semi-good person? I’ll never be sure.
Yeah they probably would have tracked you down. I live near a casino and I always read in the paper about people finding money and keeping it and than they get arressted for it. I never understood why…I mean they found it.
I found a Jackson in my front yard a couple of weeks ago. I commented to those that would listen that I hadn’t found any “folding” money in a long time. It was awesome.
When I was a bartender, I found money all the time. Always look down. That, and a shit-ton of Marlboro points.
About 8 years ago I was working at an off track betting place and guys in there were always drunk. At the end of your shift, if your till was short you had to pay it but if it was over than you got to keep it. One day this older guy was drunk off his ass and making huge bets. Just handing over wads of cash with the bank paper still wrapped around it. I was new so I was training with another woman and he ended up over paying for a bet by $1,000. He was gone by the time we noticed. If I was alone I would have kept it but the other lady freaked out and told a manager. Basically, the next time the guy came in the manager gave it back to him and told him what happened. The guy came over and gave me and the other lady $200 each.
I was standing in a no-moving line at Walmart once when I looked down and saw some folded bills near the feet of the guy in front of me. I got his attention and asked him if it was his and he said no. So I picked up what turned out to be a couple of tens. I figured if I turned it in it probably wouldn’t end up with the right person so I decided to keep it. After a couple seconds of thought I gave the guy one of the tens because he could easily have just claimed them himself, and he looked like he could use it.
Someone sent me this video of an amazing windfall for someone who really needed it. Why couldn’t this have happened to me?
been there done that says
When I was stationed in Hawaii, I was snorkeling at Waimea Bay on the north shore (giant waves in the winter, glass-like in the summer). A $50 bill went drifting in front of me among the other marine life. Snagged and enjoyed and excellent dinner someplace on the way home (in the days when you could get such a thing for $50).
Senor Kaboom says
I once found $350 in a filing cabinet. When I was a kid in northern California, I found a Junior Olympics gold medal. Weird.
son of sam says
True story. No shit. My buddy bought his grandfather’s rundown house after he died. No other family member wanted it. Found 30k in the dryer. His Mom told him to keep it and keep his mouth shut. He bought a Harley and nearly killed himself drunk riding. Karma?
John Smith says
I found a $100 while at the urinal in a strip club. Put my foot on it and had to stand there for like 10 minutes until the row was empty.
No guilt involved as it was.going to the girls anyway. I just got to pick which ones.
WB in OH says
I don’t think I ever found more than a couple of bucks at any given time.
I have however, lost a $1,000 savings bond. Still pisses me off.
With some friends on a weekend camping trip and we stopped at a NJ turnpike rest area. On the way back to the car, one friend jumps and picks up a twenty. We started looking around and found three more! Our trip almost totally paid for.
My brother in law found a ring worth several thousand in a mud puddle in NYC.
A guy I work with had an old pair of track shoes from high school that a local college coach had given to him. When cleaning his house 20 yrs later, he found them, looked them up on Ebay and found they were worth several thousand dollars because they were shoes that Steve Prefontaine had given to college track coaches as a promotion for Adidas (in fact it was the Adidas historian that bought them). Never throw out anything!!!
WB in OH says
That ring your brother in law found, did it make you invisible when you tried it on? I can’t find my precious anywhere.
My friends and I once spotted a $20 bill in a Bourbon street puddle, 3/4 submerged. Only one friend was brave enough to grab it, so it was his.
Another non-monitary ground score was a book outside the bar where I had my birthday this year. There was a pile of free books and Encounters With The Nude Male was on top. We howled with laughter and passed it around for hours. Click at your own risk, even the cover is hilariously TOO MUCH. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0854492453