A quick walk with their golden retriever turned into a morality test for one New Hampshire boy and his dad recently. And the two — who found $1,450 in cash but immediately turned it over to police — passed with flying colors, receiving a reward for their honesty last week.
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“I grew up in this town and raised my kids here, and it really is the place it is because of people like Max’s parents, who used the opportunity to teach him, hey, we could put it in our pockets, but no, we all take care of each other,” Cheri Smith, the Exeter proprietor whose money was lost and found, told Yahoo Shine. She left a thank-you note with $100 at the local police station to convey her gratitude.
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Smith, who has owned the Puddlejumpers Children’s Shop for 25 years, was walking to her car one evening in August when she dropped her tote. That’s when a stuffed bank deposit bag fell out onto the grass, unbeknownst to her. (“My eyesight isn’t what it used to be,” she said.) And the next day, Guy Parenti and his son Max, 8, spotted it while walking their dog, amazed at the fat stack of twenties, fifties, and hundreds.
“This presented a teaching opportunity,” Parenti, an independent sales agent, told Yahoo Shine. “I think [Max] said, ‘Are we going to keep it?’ And I said, ‘Keeping it is no different from taking it.’ He’s a great kid with a great heart, so he was all for it. He felt like one of the good guys.” Good guys have been happily trendy lately, according to various Good Samaritan news reports: Earlier this month, a Boston homeless man became a celebrated local hero after he found a backpack containing tens of thousands of dollars in cash and travelers checks, turning it right over the police. Also this year, a Tennessee man found $13,000 on top of a trash can, an auto-detailing shop owner in Missouri found $1,200 in cash, a California couple found $6,900 in an envelope at a DMV office, and an out-of-work teacher in Texas stumbled upon a bag containing $20,000 in cash. In every remarkable case, the money was returned to its owner or handed over to police.
As for Max and his dad, they waited until they got home to count the cash and then noticed a deposit slip, which Guy knew would be helpful to the police. Together, they brought it into the Exeter police station the next morning.
“The police made a really big deal out of it, congratulating him, which was great,” Parenti said about Max’s reception. “He was very proud of himself.”
The officers, able to track Smith down through her bank’s routing number, called her with the good news. She collected her cash and eventually brought the card and reward into the precinct for Max, admitting that she used the cops as middlemen because she was “a little embarrassed” by the whole incident.
“I’m a firm believer in karma,” she added, “so I think Max has a lot of good things coming his way.”
He at least has some sweets in his near future, according to his dad, who shared what Max planned to do with his reward money. “The last I heard, believe it or not,” he said, “he wants to buy Pixie Stix.”