Retiree finds envelope filled with cash, turns it in to police

Sarnia resident Rita Smith found an envelope last week containing more than $1,000. She called police and the rightful owner was found. Troy Shantz

Troy Shantz

Sarnia’s Rita Smith was taking a 20-minute exercise walk around her east-end neighbourhood recently when she spotted an envelope lying on the sidewalk.

Not wanting to break stride, the retired nurse scooped it up and continued on her way while listening to Stephen King’s “The Stand” in her headphones.

Upon getting home, though, she examined the envelope more closely and suspected it might contain money.

“I was feeling really torn,” she said. “This isn’t really mine. I shouldn’t count it.”

Eventually, however, curiosity won out. The envelope contained $1,020 in cash.

Smith said she joked with herself that it was obviously a reward from a higher power for being so diligent at physical fitness.

“That is the washer-dryer I want,” she admits thinking.

But, Smith called Sarnia Police. Officers retrieved the envelope and on May 23 police issued a news release advising that a quantity of cash had been found on Finch Drive.

Two hours later, the rightful owner claimed the money after providing a meticulous description of the envelope and its contents.

“The Sarnia Police Service would like to thank the good Samaritan for this act of kindness, especially in these times when the news is not always so good,” said Const. Giovanni Sottosanti.

Smith said she did the right thing because she knows what it’s like to do without. At one point after separating from her husband, she said, she struggled to attend classes at Lambton College while raising an infant granddaughter.

“Times were really tough then,” she said. “Money was really short.”

Smith added she doesn’t want a reward, and if one were offered she would give it to the Inn of the Good Shepherd.