LOS ANGELES An Applebee’s waiter in central California turned over $32,000 in cash that a family forgot at a table, an amount that exceeds his annual salary after taxes, because it was the right thing to do, the waiter told Reuters in an exclusive interview on Friday.
The money, described as the savings from multiple family businesses including rental properties and a Bay Area restaurant, was meant to allow the family to take a vacation to Mexico.
They had accidentally left it in a booth at an Applebee’s on Wednesday night, KSFN reports.
So they left, ran some errands and finished with dinner.
A worker at Applebee’s turned the cash over to Fresno police, who gave the money back to the Gonzalez family Thursday morning after verifying that it belonged to them.
The Gonzalez family stopped at an Applebee’s restaurant on Wednesday to get a bite to eat. Carrie Hellyer, an area director for Applebee’s, said the waiter said “he just wanted to do the right thing”.
When they realized what they had done, the Gonzalezes went to the Fresno Police Department in an attempt to track down the money, but were extremely doubtful that they’d see its return. There are no surveillance cameras in the area where the family was seated.
Gonzalez said the money was saved to the help her become a registered nurse.
Thankfully an honest employee found the money, told the Hellyer, and then she called 9-1-1.
The family wants to reward the waiter, but so far he’s refusing.
“The dispatcher I think she thought I was kidding because she said ‘that much cash are you sure?’ And I said ‘yes, three of us counted it, ‘” said Hellyer.