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Could You Do This? Tampa Man Finds Briefcase With $8K...and Returns It

"You have to do the right thing."

Proving that Good Samaritans still exist, a Tampa Bay man found a briefcase filled with $8,000 cash and returned  to its rightful owner.

See the WIVB news brief:

Lying in the middle of the road, the bag went unnoticed for nearly an hour Sunday afternoon. Cars drove over it; others swerved to avoid it. Eventually, one driver made a U-turn to retrieve the bag from the road.

Frank Colla reasoned that someone's laptop might be in the bag. So, he figured that he'd get it out of the road and track down its owner. What he found instead were some papers, a telegram, and dozens of $100 bills, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

"Just a big stack of hundreds and they just kept coming out and as I kept pulling out and they just coming out and coming out," he said.

Colla was faced with what many would call a very tough choice.

"I couldn't convince myself to keep it. I knew somebody somewhere was really going to miss this, and I thought, 'You have to do the right thing,'" he said.

"I figured it has to be important to somebody, it has to be," he said, according to WIVB. "There was stuff going in my head as to what are the legal ramifications for me to keep this or whatever but my moral obligation and integrity says you're going to have to return it."

That's exactly what he did.

After dropping off his grandchildren and scouring the papers inside the bag for clues, Colla began to search for the bag's rightful owner, the Times reports.

"I was a little nervous at first, because I didn't know who I might find," he said. "I mean, who carries around that kind of money?" Colla said [Author's note: actually, that's a very good question].

Colla drove to an address listed on one of the documents. No one was home. He then found a phone number and called. A "frantic" woman answered and was relieved to hear Colla's story.

Apparently, distracted by car seats and diapers, the woman’s husband had left the briefcase on top of their car and didn’t realize it until after the bag was long gone.

"She was so excited when I told her I found it," Colla said. "Her husband had been out retracing their steps."

The woman offered no reward, and Colla didn't ask for one, the Times reports.

Who is Frank Colla?

Colla is a retired UPS worker who works part time as a security guard in Hillsborough County Traffic Court in Tampa, FL. He is also a veteran of the reserves for the Florida Highway Patrol and Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Ethics and honesty have always been professional requirements, he said.

"He's an extremely honest man," said Bill Foster, a Traffic Court hearing officer who was "stunned" when he heard Colla's story.

"He probably makes $10 an hour — if that," Foster said. "And for someone, anyone, to find that kind of money and give it back? That's rare."

(H/T: The Consumerist)

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