McDonald’s worker gives break to customer who lost wallet

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 10, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – Eddie James often stops at the Vidalia McDonald’s in the morning, but an employee’s good deed last week warmed him more than any cup of coffee. James, owner of James Cleaners and Natchez Steam Laundry, was waiting in the restaurant drive-through before work when he got out to take off his jacket.

Soon after, Manager Bettye Collins noticed what looked like money laying in the parking lot, but the morning rush picked up and she forgot about it.

Finally, about two hours later, Collins went out and found it a money clip wallet, containing several credit cards and a large sum of cash.

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Collins said coworkers tried to convince her to keep the money, saying it was her &uot;blessing,&uot; but she refused.

&uot;I said no I can’t keep it. It ain’t mine. If it were my blessing, it would have had no credit cards, no driver’s license, no name on it,&uot; she said.

Using a phone number she found in the wallet, Collins called James on his cellular phone to ask him if he’d lost anything.

James, who hadn’t yet realized his wallet was missing, was confused that someone he didn’t know was calling him on his cell phone and repeatedly told Collins he had not lost anything.

&uot;And then, all of a sudden it hit me, and I said ‘oh my god, my wallet!’&uot; James said.

Because of his business, James said he routinely carries large amounts of cash for the buying and selling of equipment, but not anymore.

&uot;After my wife got a hold of me, that money is in the bank,&uot; he said, laughing.

In way of thanks, James gave monetary rewards to several employees and to Collins, free dry cleaning for life.

Collins said the reward helped her remember that she had done the right thing, especially after so many of her friends had tried to convince her to keep the money.

As a business owner himself, James said he wants people who often only see the negative in service employees to remember there are people like Collins.

Lorraine Stalians, restaurant owner, said she is proud of her employees, not only for returning the wallet, but for the dedication to their jobs.

&uot;We get lots and lots of compliments everyday and it feels good,&uot; Stalians said.