California Costco Worker Returns Envelope with Nearly $4000 Cash


A Costco employee in California achieved his goal to become Employee of the Month in August due to his honesty.

John Sotelo was putting away cases of water bottles at the Clovis branch when something on one of the pallets caught his attention. When he picked it up, it was an envelope containing $3,940.

He immediately informed his manager. They tracked the member who misplaced the envelope using the warehouse store’s surveillance footage and her member ID.

“It was crazy because my manager walked me outside, and the member was right there,” Sotelo told ABC affiliate KFSN-TV.

“So yeah, she told me like, ‘Oh, you know, I’m so glad you found this. That’s for my kids to go to school.’ I’m like, ‘Okay,’ you know, ‘well I’m happy to help.'”

John revealed that he started the month with a motivation to work hard and to keep a positive attitude at work to earn the Employee of the Month award. Now, a plaque hangs in the store celebrating his integrity and selfless act.

I’m happy to help. —John Sotelo

In 2019, a group of researchers started a study to see if people place more importance on their personal interests than the interest of strangers.

They distributed more than 17,000 wallets in different cities across 40 countries. The wallet contained various amounts of money from $13 to $100, while some had no bills in it. Researchers found out that people are more likely to return a wallet filled with cash than keep it for themselves.

“People were more likely to return a wallet when it contained a higher amount of money,” said Alain Cohn from the University of Michigan, the study’s lead author.

“At first we almost couldn’t believe it and told him to triple the amount of money in the wallet. But yet again we found the same puzzling finding.”

Researchers suggested that people’s honesty can be attributed to alturism and self-awareness. The people who returned the wallet might care about the feelings of the person who lost it. Also, people don’t want to see themselves as thieves.

“The more money a wallet contains, the more people say that it would feel like stealing if they do not return the wallet,” said Cohn.

Times are tough and it’s encouraging to know that there are still many people like John who will keep to their principles and choose to do the right thing.

Joyce Dimaculangan
Joyce Dimaculangan
Joyce has more than 15 years experience writing news, industry articles and blogs for the private and public sectors. Most of her career was spent writing technical documentation for a software company in the Philippines. She earned a B.A. in Communication Arts with a concentration in writing from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños. During her leisure time, Joyce pursues her interest in reading fiction and playing with her dogs. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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