$4K accidentally donated to North Vancouver Sally Ann returned to owner

Salvation lies within. Or sometimes, it’s deep down at the bottom of a green bag.

A North Vancouver Salvation Army donation sorter is being hailed a hero after finding a large sum of cash accidentally tucked into a donated bag.

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Early in October, a woman who was preparing to move from North Vancouver stopped in to the Capilano branch on Fell Avenue to donate some clothes and accessories she no longer needed.

She came back the next day in tears, saying somewhere within her donations was $4,000 in savings.

“She told us that she accidentally donated the money and she needs the money,” said Louie Lumio, who had only been working at the thrift shop for the last three months.

Staff explained to her that it might have already been trucked back to the warehouse in Langley, in which case it was anyone’s guess where it would turn up.

“She left the store crying and sad. She thought that she was never going to find her money again,” he said.

Staff looked around in hopes that it might turn up but with a jam-packed unloading and sorting area they had no luck. With the sad incident largely out of mind, Lumio was going about his morning routine in late October, sorting through donations when he came across a small green bag. Inside there were two envelopes. At first, Lumio thought they were just greeting cards accidentally put into the bin.

“Then I saw the green paper. Then I saw the number 20,” he said.

Lumio let his supervisor know and then they counted the money out together. All $4,000 was there. They then called the rightful owner to let her know the good news.

“She was in shock. She was crying,” Lumio said.

She came in the next day to collect the money and decided to keep the green bag too.

Lumio said he didn’t for a moment consider keeping the money for himself.

“I feel so good because I helped her find her money and I know she really needed it,” he said.

In part, it was out of his Christian duty, he added.

“I actually grew up in seminary school. I was there for six years. I was serving God as well as studying. That’s what the seminary taught me – to do the right thing,” he said.

The selfless act has won Lumio praise from his higher-ups in the Salvation Army.

“Louie has demonstrated, with ease, so many values we believe in deeply – compassion, honesty, dignity and service to others, love. It could go on,” said Michele Walker, national recycling operations manager, in a letter put on display near the thrift store’s till.

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