Sitcoms teach us that Christmas is about learning important lessons, being honest with your loved ones, and returning presents that you’ve stolen from a family of Seavers that took you in just because. But do those important teaching moments translate to real life? Sometimes. This week, an Applebee’s worker in Fresno, California, returned $32,000 a couple left behind in their booth (I’m assuming in a burlap sack with a comically large dollar sign on it) after eating good in the neighborhood. Would you do the same?
Eater reports that the money was lost by Erika and Bertha Gonzalez on Wednesday when the two ate dinner at the restaurant. They didn’t plan on showing up to an Applebee’s with $32,000, of course, but their plans to put the money in a safe deposit box earlier that day had been thwarted by a local bank’s lack of available safes. They realized their mistake pretty quickly upon leaving but were certain the money would never be found.
According to Eater, $32,000 is more than the average chain restaurant server makes in a year, so both the Gonzalez family and Sammy Ashworth, the detective in charge of their case, were surprised when it was recovered. Rather than keep the money for himself, the man who served the mother and daughter immediately turned it in. What’s more, he didn’t do it for the accolades. According to an Applebee’s spokesperson, he did it because it was the right thing to do. Want more proof? No one involved in this case even knows who the guy was. He’s asked to remain anonymous, may not be accepting any reward from the Gonzalezes, and may not even accept what is sure to be a “thanks for being a good person” reward from Applebee’s.
It’s unfortunate he’s remaining in the shadows, however. That $32,000 is the largest amount of money ever returned by a server to a family. If the Guinness Book of World Records celebrates people who can shoot milk through their nose and pop their eyes out (at least they did on the show), it’s possible they might have made some space for this holiday miracle as well.