## This Goodwill Worker Was Busy Folding Old Sweaters – But Then She Felt What Had Been Tucked Inside

 

It’s a seemingly normal day at Goodwill as Andrea Lessing starts her shift. She’s been tasked with folding a couple of old sweaters that've been handed to the store to sell on. But as Lessing begins to pick up the garments, she notices something unusual inside. And the discovery could ending up changing her life forever.

Goodwill is known for its bargains and surprises hiding in donated containers, yet this finding took the cake! No one would’ve seen it coming – least of all Lessing. Where did this happen, then? Well, the store in question is located in Norman, Oklahoma, and it’s one of six shops peppered across the city.

Lessing was actually fairly new to the job when she stumbled across the old jumpers. Yes, the resident of Moore, Oklahoma, only started at Goodwill in February 2021 – taking on the role of sales associate. And the pivotal moment at the Norman store occurred just a few weeks later.

That’s some introduction! But it does bring up an interesting point. If this had happened to any other rookie at Goodwill, there’s no telling how they would’ve reacted. All the training in the world couldn’t have prepared them. In Lessing’s case, though, she wasn’t really a greenhorn in the world of retail – far from it.

You see, after Lessing completed her studies at Moore High School, she eventually found a job in her home city. In the summer of 2018, she was recruited by the local Dollar General. The future Goodwill employee worked as the assistant manager at that store, where she remained until January 2021.

Lessing clearly had plenty of retail experience by the time she arrived at Goodwill a month later. On top of that, she was raising a young daughter at home as well. To say the Moore resident had a lot on her plate would clearly be a bit of an understatement!

Anyway, in the short time Lessing had been at Goodwill before the shocking discovery, she’d become acquainted with odd findings. The mom spoke to Oklahoma’s KFOR television station in March 2021. And during the interview, Lessing shed some light on what she does with the donations during her shifts.

Lessing explained, “Just from working here for about a month-and-a-half, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of weird things that have been donated.” As for her role at Goodwill, she continued, “You want to make sure that we’re selling good products. You know, that there’s no stains, there’s no holes, there’s no tears.”

Lessing was ready to enact that same process with the old pile of jumpers at the store. Yet nothing could’ve readied her for what was hiding among them. So, let’s go back to that fateful day in Norman. How did Lessing respond to that weird shape in the garments?

The store assistant believed that some books had been covered up inside the jumpers. It was an understandable view – after all, people don’t always pack their donations neatly before sending them off. But Lessing was wrong in this instance, and the truth left her utterly astounded.

Lessing told KFOR, “There was just stacks of envelopes, and [they] contained $100 bills. My first thought was, ‘It’s fake.’” During another chat with CNN’s website, she continued, “We’ve seen $5 and $20 donated here and there, but never in my life had I seen that much money.”

How much was there overall, then? Well, the bills reportedly counted up to $42,000. Nope, that’s not a typo! Incredibly, no other Goodwill store in Oklahoma had ever discovered a monetary figure that high throughout the brand’s eight-decade-plus stay in the state. As a result of that, Lessing became an unsuspecting history maker.

Anyway, here’s a question for you: what would you have done in Lessing’s place? Keep the find a secret and take the cash yourself, or report it to your superiors? In truth, the mom had to think about it before taking that final decision, as she told Good Morning America.

Lessing told Good Morning America in April 2021, “Don’t get me wrong, I’m human. Naturally, the thought crosses your mind like, ‘I just found $42,000, I could get this, this, and this.’ [But] I can’t tell my daughter, ‘You need to make good choices,’ as I myself am not making good choices.”

Yes, Lessing reiterated the important role her kid ultimately played while speaking to KFOR. She said, “I love her very much, and you can’t put a price on my daughter. I know what could be risked [by] stealing that money. And I do believe in karma. I believe that if you do something good, something good will come back to you.”

What happened, then? Well, Lessing decided that she would report the jaw-dropping find to her colleagues. The donated box apparently included vital paperwork inside that revealed the identity of the donor, so they had someone to contact. But that in itself was rather strange, with Goodwill’s Frank Holland explaining why to KFOR.

Holland said, “Normally, we have no way of knowing who the money belongs to. Even if we wanted to try and give it back to someone, there was no way to find who that person was.” The store had no such problems this time, though, as the individual got their $42,000 back in full.

The story doesn’t end there, though. Off the back of Lessing’s admirable decision, the donor looked to reward her. So, during KFOR’s time at the Goodwill store, the station captured Holland handing over $1,000 to the shocked mom. It was apparently drawn from the original pile of cash.

Lessing told Good Morning America, “I actually was very surprised. I didn’t give [the money] back to expect a reward. I didn’t give it back to expect anything. I didn’t expect to be on the news. I didn’t expect for any of this to reach all the way over to different states and different countries. I just wanted to do the right thing.”

As for what Lessing planned to do with the cash, she tearfully informed KFOR, “[My daughter’s] birthday is coming up in July. So, now I can actually give her an amazing birthday party.” Lovely stuff, wouldn’t you agree? Lessing’s faith in karma had been well and truly rewarded! And – amazingly enough – she’s far from the only Goodwill employee to be blessed in this way.

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