-- Javier Castellanos and his wife, Felice Kaufmann, took the concept of lost and found to the next level during their recent trip to Spain.
Castellanos modestly compared his tireless efforts to return an envelope full of cash he found at an airport to the everyday experience of notifying a person that they left something behind.
“It was a chance to say, ‘Excuse me, you dropped something,’” he told ABC News of his act of kindness.
Castellanos was sitting in the Barcelona airport, waiting for his wife to use the restroom, when he noticed an envelope wedged between the seats. Upon opening it, he discovered a bundle of euros, some Ukrainian currency, and the receipt from a currency exchange.
Surely, he thought, someone was disappointed for having misplaced this money. And so, he set out to return it to its rightful owners.
After calling the name on the exchange receipt while in line at border control proved unsuccessful, the couple turned to Facebook. Another dead end.
Finally, Castellanos noticed the name of a tile company printed on the envelope. He called first thing Monday morning and sure enough, one of their employees was married to a Ukrainian woman, a mother who had lost the money while traveling to visit her daughter.
“She was incredibly upset with herself,” Castellanos told ABC News of the money’s owner. “She had no idea where she had left the money, she just knew she didn’t have it and assumed she’d never see it again.”
Needless to say, the family was as surprised as they were grateful.
“They were overjoyed,” he said of the family, who Castellanos said told him and his wife that if they ever come through the area, they always have a place to stay. “The mother was in tears.”
He added: "It felt really nice to be able to do that."
The money, sent via express mail, was safely returned to its owners just a few days later. Though the couple wasn’t able to meet the appreciative recipients before returning to New York, Castellanos said they might stop by during their next trip.
“I think it’s wonderful when we can do this for each other,” Castellanos said. “There’s that sense of watching out for each other -- the more of that we do, the better.”