Shoe Column: when it comes to cash, most finders are keepers

By Tim “Shoe” Sullivan

I like to go around looking for money.

It’s not that I use a metal detector or some other gizmo. It’s really quite simple. When I’m walking down the sidewalk in Stevens Point or just getting out of the car, I always look at the ground. You never know what you might find. One summer, I went to Riverfront Rendezvous the morning after the fireworks and found a $20 bill on the ground.

Many other people have found money, too. Usually it’s just blind luck. So let’s sit back, put our feet up, and share the good fortune of others, shall we?

Tom Derr: “I spotted a $5 bill while ice fishing. Had to chisel four inches of ice to retrieve it.”

Jon Pike: “Found a dollar lying on the ground way back when Art In The Park was at Iverson. Asked my dad if I could keep it. He couldn’t think of a good reason for me not to keep it, so yay, I found a buck when I was 9.”

Bruce Dehlinger: “As a former meter man, I found lots of coins and paper money. The strangest was a $20 bill in a window well that had a dryer vent in it just below our outside meter. The lint was no problem.”

Brad Waite: “I found a dollar frozen under some ice at the Washington School playground. I think I was in second grade. Went home and got a hammer and screwdriver and chiseled it out. That was big money to me back then.”

Jim Oberst: “When I was in college, I found a wallet with a couple hundred bucks in it, as well as credit cards. I found the student in the campus phone book and called him and had him meet up with me. He showed up, counted his money, and turned and walked off. No thank you or anything. I gave him a pass since he was a socially awkward exchange student, but still …”

(Jeez, sorry I bothered you, dude.)

Robert Zimbauer: “I lost my wallet back in the ’60s. A guy showed up at Morey’s Bar and used my ID. Unfortunately for him, my brother Jim was tending bar. Guess what happened to the guy when I showed up.”

Diego Plante: “I found a $20 in the snow last winter.”

Dana Eiden: “When my eldest daughter was in kindergarten, we crossed the highway to wait for the bus. She kept telling me that money was flying around us. I thought she was just being cute. She picked up a check from the ground. Then a few hundred dollar bills and said, ‘see?’ She found $800 total! I told her we had to call and return it. We called the number on the check. An elderly woman answered. She said her husband went to pay the bills and must’ve opened his car door not realizing all the bills and money fell out. She offered my daughter a reward, but I said that wasn’t necessary. She still dropped off a plant for my daughter. It was a perfect opportunity to learn to do the right thing without any expectations in return. My daughter never forgot how happy she made that sweet couple.”

(How cool was that?)

Ryan Drifka: “Found $100 in the candy aisle at Motomart.”

Tyler Peters: “I found a stray $20 in an ATM once.”

Paulo Pavelski: “I found 20 clams at Iverson. Actual clams.”

Scott Hetzer: “Well, my hobby is finding money (And he’s damn good at it). The most valuable coin I’ve found is worth a couple hundred dollars. It’s a 1873 seated quarter I found metal detecting in central Wisconsin.”

Donna Fletcher Betro: “My family was on vacation in the mid-60s at the Indian Crossing Casino and I found a $50 bill.”

Mary Rose M.: “I found $80 while cleaning the booths as a waitress at Hollywood Wayside.”

Mark Zurawski: “I found a very large rolled-up wad of cash at the Blue Top gas station. Hundreds of dollars. While pumping my gas and deciding what to do, a vehicle pulled in. A guy got out of his car and was searching the area frantically. I asked him what he was doing, and he said he and his family were leaving for a vacation. He said that his money was missing and that he was at the station a minute ago to fill up. I grabbed his money out of my car and handed it to him. He thanked me profusely and said he and his family would’ve went home if the money wasn’t found. He’s lucky someone who’s not honest didn’t find it.”

Brad Waite (again): “Found a big wad of cash laying on the floor at Kwik Trip. I picked it up. Then I saw a guy frantically searching all his pockets. I returned the money to him. Also, one time I found the money bag for the vending machines at work and turned it in to the office.”

Mark Colrud: “I saw a $50 bill near the door while walking out of a supermarket in Appleton. Went back in and told an employee that I found some money, but didn’t tell the amount. I left my phone number in case someone queried the store. I waited two weeks and no response.”

Donald Hein: “Found $20 on the floor in a busy mall at Christmas. Figured if I asked around, everyone would’ve tried to claim it. So I went over and dropped it into a red kettle, so it went to a good cause.”

Tim Anderson: “Found $100 bill on the floor of a strip club. I tried to find the rightful owner but everyone had apparently ‘lost’ it.”

Richard Christofferson: “I found a dime left in a pay phone.”

Kitty Dunn: “I would find change that fell out of people’s pockets while riding the Zipper at the carnival.”

Chris Chiapuzio: “I find money all the time. It’s usually in the dryer in my basement so it’s usually mine anyway.”

Rick Giese: “Years ago, my buddies and I were departing the old Unique Bar after a busy night of emptying a variety of beverage glasses and doing reps of six ounce curls. I was straggling a little behind the pack when from behind a sudden gust of wind blew a twenty-dollar bill into the gutter where my footsteps were leading. I announced for the party to halt and informed the gang that I had just come across a ‘windfall.’ Ma Pesch immediately, verbally, strong-armed me that it was only fitting that I share my good fortune. It was as if I had just aced the third hole at the River and protocol demanded that I ‘buy a round’. He steered us to Bill’s Pizza and my good fortune was devoured in a flash. A $20 went a lot farther in those days, but I still had to dish out for the tip. My good fortune turned into a net loss of five bucks, and for that I can thank Ma Pesch.”

Lynette Henry: “I found a cell phone in the middle of the street downtown during the day. I stopped the traffic and grabbed it off the street. I called the last number dialed and got the phone back to the owner. A lady from Sentry who had been at a meeting explained to me how important she was and that it had all her work contacts in it. She had driven off with it on the hood of her car. It was a nice phone. I barely got a thank you for saving it from being run over.”

Janice Kiefer Sparhawk: “Found a $20 bill on the sidewalk outside of St Stephen’s School when I was in 3rd grade. The nuns talked me into giving it to charity.”

Erin Gentz: “I found $50 in my astronomy book in high school. Also found brand new shoes at Riverfront.”

Susan Shevelson: “I found $250 by the front door at Southside Copps. I turned it in to the customer service counter, but nobody claimed it.”

Tom Mortenson: “I found a plastic token that, when redeemed, was good for one free drink at Archie’s.”

Janice Kiefer Sparhawk (again): “Once I bought a bedroom set at an auction. I made room for it, brought it into the house, and was cleaning it up. I removed some old white paper drawer liners. WOW!!! $750 !! The antique bedroom set ended up costing me less than $500.”

Gina Guerrero: “I found $80 on the sidewalk by Belts’. My parents also bought a chest for five dollars at a rummage sale. They found an envelope containing $300 in that chest.”

Mike Eichendorf: “I found a $20 bill in the mall before it closed”. Jerry Skierka: “Found $100 bill at my feet while checking out at a gas station in Beaver Dam. I gave it to the clerk, and I think she ended up keeping it.”

Alice Johnson: “I found a penny at the Portage County Court House when my daughter got married. I gave it to them.”

Rory Welch: “I found $50 in the field between the parking lot and the apartments by Pfiffner Park.”

Georgea Kline: “One night we found $100 outside Hunchie’s. Then at our next stop, we found $20. I also recently found a new laptop in its case in the middle of the road. I found the owner through Facebook.”

Mary Kraft: “I found a wedding ring in front of the old American Legion and returned it to the owner.”

Deb Wasilczuk: “I found a diamond engagement ring and found the owner.”

Tammy Kitowski: “Found $50 at Fleet Farm.”

Cindy Bernas: “$60 on the floor at Outer Limits.”

Linda Hansen Kappell: “I found a $100 bill in a library book that a patron had just returned. I called him and asked if he left something in a library book. He knew immediately. Confidentiality prohibits me from stating his name, and it was a long time ago.”

Tom LaBoda: “Was working at Mortimer’s in the old Holidome when I found a money clip with no markings on it. There was almost $1000 in it. I turned it in to my manager. Later that day, a guest called after he had gone looking for it. The guy wrote a nice letter thanking me and gave me a whole $5 tip.”

Richard Christofferson: “I’m so old that I found a quarter when it was still worth bending down to pick up”. Dlb Williquette: “Found $100 in the cupboard of an apartment we had just moved into.”

Rick Giese: “My dog “Little Harv” swallowed a rare quarter from my coin collection. I followed Little Harv around just waiting for it to poop so I could retrieve my rare quarter. Finally, I saw something shiny in the doggie doodoo. I eagerly investigated and found, to my chagrin, two dimes and a nickel.”

Pat O’Donnell: “I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill.”

Kathy Stroik Hintz: “I found five $100 bills in a velvet drawstring pouch near the food court of the former Point mall. I turned it in to the security office. They held it for 90 days. Nobody claimed it so I got a call that it was mine.”

Unknown: “I found a rare quarter in Rick Giese’s yard after he let the dog out.”

Renee Dyb: “Found $5 on a windy day in Copps’ parking lot.”

Rick Koehler: “I found a bank deposit bag for a hospital pharmacy in a stairwell. Lots of money in that bag. Could’ve been a big pay day. I returned it to the hospital. Another time I had just parked my car and was getting out when a $100 bill was blowing down the street and landed right at my feet.”

Jon Rossmiller: “On Earth Day most years, I took my middle school science classes outside to clean up the school site. Each class covered a ‘section’, and I’d ‘plant’ a $5 bill for the students to find. One year even I was surprised when another “fiver” was found. That one wasn’t planted by me.”

Tim Karcheski: “I used to work at MidState Airlines back in the early ’80s. I found a wallet left on one of the planes. It had credit cards and a lot of cash. I mailed the wallet back to the owner. He sent me a crisp $100 bill with a nice thank you letter. That was an awesome feeling.”

Earl Walker: “Found ten bucks while walking downtown.”

Diane Strojny: “Found a $20 bill on the floor at Tempo on Division Street. Also found a counterfeit $20 bill in a deposit when I worked at a bank.”

Cassandra Omernick: “There used to be a grocery store on the side street just south of St. Mike’s. While walking to school, I spotted a $20 bill frozen in the sidewalk ice. Didn’t take long to chip it out.”

So there you have it. Some people lose money. Some people find money. Everyone’s different. Some people are honest, and others are jerks. And you never really know what you might find next. Especially in Rick Giese’s yard after he lets the dog out.

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