One California man flexed his ethical muscle when he found — and returned — an envelope containing $6,900 in the parking lot of the Visalia Department of Motor Vehicles. Last week, Breck Reeves, 46, and his wife, Sarah, of Exeter, California, pulled into the parking lot of the DMV to swap Breck's Arizona driver's license for a California one, and he spied a thick plain white envelope lying on the ground next to his tire.
"I saw the envelope, but it looked suspicious, so I ignored it," Reeves told Yahoo! Shine. "But when I came back to the car, it was still there, so I put it in my pocket." Reeves and his wife drove to Walmart to buy groceries, and Reeves opened the envelope in the car. "I was shocked — this could have been someone's life savings," he said. "I kept counting until I got to almost $7,000."
Breck and Sarah Reeves both suffer from DiGeorge syndrome, a developmental disorder caused by a defective chromosome. The condition can affect mental stability, in some cases hampering decision-making skills, so the couple consulted Breck's mother on the matter. She advised them to return the money. "It was tempting to keep it, but we agreed that it was the right thing to do," said Breck. "I felt sick that someone had lost that amount of money."
Breck headed back to the DMV and alerted the manager, who called the Visalia Police Department. "The police said that I could keep the money if no one claimed it within 90 days," said Breck. "But two days later, the owner came forward."
That owner was a man named Guadalupe Salazar, 69, of Yettem, California, who had accidentally dropped the money in the DMV parking lot. Although Salazar could not be reached for comment, on Monday he told the Fresno Bee that he had withdrawn the money to buy a car for his 18-year-old son, Ricardo, as a high school graduation gift. Salazar only discovered that the money was missing while in line at the grocery store. "I felt really bad," Salazar told the paper. "I was angry at myself."
The following day, he returned to the DMV in the hopes that someone had found the envelope, and he was told to contact the local police department. "It's very, very wonderful," he said of Breck's gesture.
On Tuesday, Salazar treated Breck to lunch at a Mexican restaurant to thank him and gave him a $400 reward. "I feel good about my decision," said Breck. "Everyone should do the right thing."
According to the Fresno Bee, the police department praised Reeves "for his honesty and civic duty." The act follows news of a Wilmington Island, Georgia, waitress named Jennifer Shaw, who found an envelope filled with $5,000 while clearing one of her tables at work. "I mean, you don't really know what to think at the moment. My knees were actually shaking once I realized exactly how much it was," Shaw told local news station WTOC. She returned the money to its rightful owner, a man who had been sitting with a group at her table, and was rewarded $100 for her efforts