What would you do if you found an envelope containing $3,900 in cash?
For Susie Moon and her daughter Rita, there never was a question:
Find the person who lost it and give it back, of course.
Because of their integrity, what might have been a difficult Christmas for one Fullerton family turned out to be a blessed one.
On the evening of Dec. 13, the Moons were at a gas station at Associated Road and Yorba Linda Boulevard when Rita noticed an envelope on the ground.
“It looked like money but I wasn’t sure,” Rita said. “So, I went over and picked it up and peaked in it and I noticed it was full of money.”
She got back into the car, locked the doors and counted the cash, which was stuffed in a white envelope marked with a Wells Fargo logo.
“I said this is probably somebody’s last check or a bonus for Christmas,” Susie thought. “They had obviously been to the bank because it was in a bank envelope.”
After checking with the gas station clerk, who wasn’t aware of anyone losing money, the Moons drove to the police station to drop the money off, hoping that whoever lost the cash would call the police to inquire about it.
The next day, a Fullerton resident named Chris (who opted not to give his last name) was planning to use the $3,900 Christmas bonus he received a day earlier to shop for Christmas presents for his three daughters – ages 6, 9 and 13.
He went into his pants pockets but the money wasn’t there.
He went through his car, but the cash wasn’t there either.
“I tore the car apart,” Chris said.
The money was gone.
Chris was upset. He was angry.
His sister tried to calm him down and suggested it would be worth a try to call the police to check if anyone turned in an envelope with $3,900.
“You actually think someone called the police department?” he barked.
Quite certain the answer would be no, Chris called the police anyway.
After answering some questions about the money to the satisfaction of the community services officer on the phone, Chris was dumbfounded by what she said next.
“She told me a couple of women turned it in,” Chris said.
At the FPD’s monthly crime strategy meeting on Jan.11, the Moons were awarded a special commendation that is given to citizens who perform an act that helps the police department.
“We always hear stories of sadness and tragedy, and Susie and Rita gave us an opportunity to share some very happy news,” said Sgt. Jon Radus, police spokesman. “We can’t thank them enough.”
As it turned out, Chris had cashed the check a day earlier and pulled into the gas station to grab a 7 UP on his way home.
The envelope with the cash was on his lap, and obviously fell out and onto the ground when he got out of his vehicle.
“I got home and I went straight to bed,” he said. “I’d worked all day and I wasn’t feeling good.”
Chris wanted to thank the mother and daughter in person and was in tears when he showed up at the Moons’ home in Placentia.
He tried to give Rita a $100 as a reward, but she refused to accept it.
“Pay it forward,” Susie told Chris. “Go do a good deed with this.”
Chris followed the suggestion and donated the $100 to his church.
“My kids mean the world to me,” he said. “I wanted to provide them with a certain kind of Christmas and without that money, I wouldn’t have been able to do that. I realized that there was a God that day.”