Store clerk returns thousands of dollars left in coat pocket

"It's just about integrity," said store employee Jennifer Kimes.

October 24, 2019, 3:17 AM

An Indiana man has a clerk in a clothing store to thank for the return of several thousand dollars that he nearly lost in his jacket pocket.

Jennifer Kimes, who works at the thrift and consignment store Plato's Closet in Valparaiso, Indiana, was going over some clothes that had recently been dropped off when she found something unexpected in the pocket of a coat.

"Sometimes you find gum, or a picture, or a grocery list," Kimes told ABC Chicago station WLS.

But this time she found a wad of cash.

The roll contained hundred-dollar bills -- lots of them. When all counted up, they totaled $7,000.

PHOTO: Plato's Closet, a thrift and consignment store in Valparaiso, Indiana, displays a stack of cash that was returned to a customer after a store employee discovered it in a coat, Oct. 24, 2019.
Plato's Closet, a thrift and consignment store in Valparaiso, Indiana, displays a stack of cash that was returned to a customer after a store employee discovered it in a coat, Oct. 24, 2019.
Plato's Closet via WLS

Kimes' initial reaction? "It just scared me," she said. "It made me nervous."

So she immediately put the money in a safe spot in the register, then called her boss, Tammy Wendland.

"I'm saying to her, 'What did you say? What did you say?'" Wendland recalled. "And [she said], 'A very large sum of money.'"

PHOTO: A sign displays the name of Plato's Closet, a thrift and consignment store in Valparaiso, Indiana, where a store employee discovered $7,000 in a coat and then returned it to a customer, Oct. 24, 2019.
A sign displays the name of Plato's Closet, a thrift and consignment store in Valparaiso, Indiana, where a store employee discovered $7,000 in a coat and then returned it to a customer, Oct. 24, 2019.
WLS

Wendland contacted the jacket's owner and arranged to return the money to him. Wendland says he told her that he had hidden the money in the coat but forgot he had put it there.

"He was extremely grateful," Wendland said. Just extremely, overwhelmingly grateful."

There was no reward for returning the money, but Wendland said it just felt good to help someone else.

"Doing the right thing is rewarding intrinsically," she said. "It makes you feel good inside to do the right thing, and there's really nothing as special as feeling good inside."

Added Kimes: "It's just about integrity. So when you work with things like this, you just have to make sure that you're honest and you do the right thing."

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