Recovering drug addict finds £75k, hands in to police 'to make grandchildren proud'

Bag dropped out of security van onto empty street while man was volunteering for Salvation Army

Click to follow
The Independent US

A recovering drug addict who found a bag stuffed with £125,000 (£75,000) on an empty road made the difficult decision to hand it straight into the police - because he wanted to make his family proud.

Despite having just a dollar in his pocket for lunch, and desperately struggling for money, 52-year-old Californian Joe Cornell said he has no regrets.

“I was thinking well, ‘what kind of man do I think I want my grandkids to think I am’,” he told KMPH News. “So my grandkids were on my mind, I wanted them to think I was a just man, and so I decided to do the right thing.”

The series of events began while Mr Cornell was watering the plants on a Salvation Army owned car and trailer lot in Fresno, California, where he volunteers as part of his enrollment in the organisation’s rehabilitation programme.

Mr Cornell said he noticed an armoured Brinks security van stop on the corner at a red light then another car pull up alongside it. He said the people in the car were trying to tell the Brinks driver something, but the truck drove on when the light turned green.

He decided to go and investigate, and it was then that he found an orange bag stuffed with money. “I picked up the bag,” Mr Cornell told the Fresno Bee. “I saw twenties and hundreds. The whole thing was full of money.”

He added: “I started crying and shaking. Everything was going through my mind - the good devil/bad devil thing. What to do?

"I got on my radio and called my boss…I think they thought I was kidding."

Mr Cornell’s good deed has paid off in more ways than one - Brinks have given him a $5000 reward and donated another $5000 to the Salvation Army, while his wife told KMPH that the news of what he's done made her so proud she burst into tears.