A Goodwill employee finds $42,000 in a pile of donations

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(NORMAN, Okla.) — An employee at a Goodwill in Norman, Oklahoma, recently found a big surprise at work.

Andrea Lessing was sorting through a box of donations when she felt something in between some sweaters: Stacks of money that amounted to a total of $42,000.

“It was definitely shocking,” she told “Good Morning America,” adding that finding money isn’t entirely unusual.

Lessing alerted her supervisor and through documentation of the donation, they were able to locate the rightful owner and return it.

The decision to return the money was a no-brainer, though Lessing admitted she felt the pull of human nature.

“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,'” she said.

Ultimately, the importance of being a good role model for her 6-year-old daughter is what pushed Lessing to do the right thing. She’s trying to instill in her daughter the value of honesty and compassion for others.

“I can’t tell my daughter ‘you need to make good choices’ as I myself am not making good choices,” she said.

Lessing’s altruism was rewarded; the owner gave her $1,000 as a token of gratitude.

“I actually was very surprised,” she said of her initial reaction to receiving the money. “I didn’t give it 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.”

She said she’s a big believer in karma and that while a good deed may not come back right away, eventually it does.

As for what Lessing plans on doing with the money? She said she intends on taking care of bills and treating her daughter to something nice.

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