$3,800 In Dumpster: Why Did Joe Ellis Return All That Money To Speedy Mart?

By Jason Van Hoven on April 10, 2013 2:41 PM EDT

Murfreesboro, Tenn.
The city of Murfreesboro had a Good Samaritan on its hands on Saturday. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Joe Ellis found $3,800 in a dumpster for a Murfreesboro, Tenn. Speedy Mart on E. Main Street on Saturday trying to collect recycled cans and bottles for some extra cash.

But instead of keeping it, he returned it all to the Speedy Mart, according to reports.

"I turned it in to the people, the two guys that work there, and I told them about what happened and I gave them the money and he was counting it out, one of the guys in the store," said Ellis. "He said it was, I don't know, almost...$4,000."

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Ellis, who can be found almost every day rummaging through the Speedy Mart dumpster, told WKRN-TV that he found the $100 bills in a small plastic bag, along with three deposit slips, with no name on them.

Maulik Patel, Speedy Mart's manager, told ABC News that he was surprised to see Ellis return the $3,800 in the dumpster.

"When he dropped it [off] to me, I couldn't believe it," Patel said. "He said he found it in the dumpster last night and dropped it off here and said if there is anyone looking [for] money, you can give it to them."

After seeing the money, Patel said he immediately called the police so that they could search for the money's rightful owner, who was found on Monday. WKRN learned that the owner was cleaning his car out and accidentally threw the $3,800 away in the dumpster.

Ellis told WKRN that he thought about keeping the money (he once kept $15 he found he said) but ultimately wanted to do the right thing.

"That's too much money for me to find and not turn it in," he said.

In the end, he was rewarded for his honesty: the owner of the $3,800 in the dumpster gave Ellis $400.

"A lot of customers come into the store and think it's unbelievable," Patel said. "When I told them what happened, they say that it's unbelievable, because in this day not many people would turn in all that money."

ALSO READ: $30,000 Found In Clothes: Why Did Carol Sutor Return All That Money To Her Cousin?

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