A teenage girl who found $2,000 in a parking lot and turned it over to a nearby bank will be in the money after all following a hasty about-face from the Dallas Police Department.
Police had said on Tuesday that the cash found by Ashley Donaldson, 15, would go to the city of Dallas general fund and not back to Ashley, a Plano, Texas, high schooler who spotted the money near a PetSmart shop last February and turned it in to a Chase Bank branch nearby.
But on Wednesday the police department had a change of heart, according to spokesman Lt. C.L. Williams. "Chief (David) Brown has stepped in on that one," he said. "We didn't handle it as well as we could have."
Williams said the police wrote a letter to Ashley saying that the $2,000 will go to her after a waiting period to make sure no legitimate claimant comes forward.
Ashley told ABC affiliate WFAA-TV that she didn't hesitate to turn over the cash. "If I took it, I could never live down the guilt that would be in me," she said.
Thanks to her honesty, Ashley will be richer than she would have been if she had kept the money. Chase Bank has opened a savings account with a $1,000 deposit for her at the branch where she turned in the lost cash, according to Chase spokesman Greg Hassell. "We thought the right thing to do was to recognize her honesty and selflessness," he said.
The Dallas Police Association also started a Facebook campaign to raise money for Ashley when the department said it would give the money to the city.
The Shepton High School student was living in a one-bedroom apartment with her parents and four brothers and sisters when she found the money. The family moved recently to Texas from Colorado.
Her dad, Ben Donaldson, told WFAA that he was proud of his daughter. "It was like an experience that presented itself—like a test—and my daughter passed with flying colors beautifully," he said.
The lieutenant agreed. "I admire her greatly. She has a great deal going for her," Williams said, and added that he tipped his hat to Ashley's parents for bringing up their daughter to be honest.