Waiter returns wallet filled with cash

Published 12:50 am Sunday, November 11, 2007

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Thomas McCauley says he was nervous about crime when he was in the city for a medical convention. And when he lost his wallet — stuffed with $8,000 in cash he’d won at a local casino — he figured his pocket had been picked.

But about an hour later, waiter Al Castro — who’d found the wallet stuck in a booth that the eye doctor from Rhode Island had been sitting in with a friend — returned it. And McCauley was stunned.

He began sharing his story, lavishing praise on the waiter he calls ‘‘the saint of New Orleans.’’

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‘‘The man can’t be tempted,’’ he said.

McCauley had stashed the cash, won Thursday at Harrah’s New Orleans Casino, in a spare wallet, with no ID, that he carries in case his pocket is picked. His friends back home had warned him about that possibility. After dinner and a show, he realized the wallet was gone.

McCauley said Castro, who’d waited on him and his friend, turned over the wallet as they rushed back into the restaurant.

When asked why return a wallet with no ID, Castro said McCauley was a ‘‘gentlemen, and I put myself in his shoes.

‘‘Plus,’’ he said, ‘‘my wife’s been telling me she believes in karma. Good things happen to people to who do good things.’’

McCauley said Castro refused his offer of a reward. But Harrah’s general manager said ‘‘we’re going to take care of him.’’