The bank deposit envelope lay on the floor near the automated teller on Sunday morning when Colleen Botchar spotted it.
She’d gone in to grab $100 for shopping and other odds and ends.
Curious, as the envelope seemed to have something in it, she picked it up. It was stuffed with bills — $20s, $50s and $100s.
“My first reaction was, ‘Oh my god, lucky me.’ That didn’t last long. Then it was, ‘Oh my god, how would I feel?’” she said Wednesday.
Her thoughts went all over the place as she counted the money.
“Oh my god, Merry Christmas. Somebody’s going to be having a nightmare.”
The money totalled $1,500. Botchar put it in her purse and left. She didn’t leave a note, but wanted to try to find the owner.
She went online to two Facebook pages she often uses: Kamloops Mom Swap and Random Acts of Kamloops Kindness.
She didn’t disclose how much she had found, but asked for anyone missing money to prove it was theirs by providing information about the envelope, the location and the amount.
Some of her Facebook friends joked about losing money. They were easily discounted.
One woman said she lost her rent money, $1,000, on the street possibly around Bert Edwards school. Close, but the wrong amount and wrong location.
Word somehow got around and on Tuesday morning, Botchar’s phone rang.
“It was about 9 a.m. Tuesday she called me. About five minutes later, she was there bawling her head off. Gave me a big hug. Made it all worthwhile. She explained how she’s a single working mom. It would have absolutely crushed her,” Botchar said.
“She just said it was her January rent.”
The woman’s name was Tracy. She had a little boy with her, about three or four years old. He was supposed to put the envelope in the deposit slot.
“She was distracted, she figured he put a blank envelope into the slot and dropped it on the floor.”
Botchar was left wondering how Tracy even found out about the envelope.
Tracy, who isn’t on Facebook but must have heard through someone who is, didn’t give Botchar a lot of information about herself.
“I have no idea how Tracy found out. She’s not on either one of those sites. Someone must have given her my phone number. She explained exactly where she lost it, all the particulars and even the bills that were in there. There’s no way it wasn’t hers.”
The grateful mother did ask what she could give Botchar in return for her honesty.
Botchar asked her to pay it forward.
“I said just pass on that kindness,” she said.
“It’s the season to pass it on, keep it going. And hopefully this has inspired other people to be honest.”