Holiday spirit: Honest Cracker Barrel customer returns nearly $100,000

Every once in a while, a story comes along which gives us goosebumps while reaffirming the belief that people are all basically good and honest. The Daily News Journal, serving Murfreesboro, Tennessee, has provided us with one of those rare and lovely stories.

At the insistence of one of her 12 grandchildren, Billie Watts reluctantly reveals what had happened . She had gone to a local Cracker Barrel restaurant, and upon entering the restroom she discovered a tapestry bag hung on a hook.

Inside that bag, she discovered an envelope with a picture of two women and a child. She also discovered a whole big bundle of $1,000 bills. Billie told The Daily News: "I said 'Oh my goodness, I have never seen that much money in my whole life. I counted the money. There was $97,000 in $1,000 bills. They were neatly stacked inside the bag. "
Concerned that the money might not be returned to it's rightful owner, Billie took it home. She then immediately phoned the restaurant to report that she had found something there in the bathroom. She does admit that the thought had crossed her mind to simply keep the money and possibly have some much needed dental work done. But remembering the lessons of honesty which her parents had taught her, she knew what she must do. The owner of the cash called her within fifteen minutes, and correctly identified her belongings.

As it turns out, the money represented the proceeds from the sale of a home and property, which a woman was going to use for starting a new life with her son. However, when she met Billie in the Cracker Barrel parking lot to recover her tapestry bag and her money, her greatest concern was about that one photograph of the women and child. She explained that it was the only picture she had of her daughter and her daughter's child, who are both now deceased. The woman offered to give Billie $1,000 for her honesty. Wouldn't you know it, Billie Watts refused the gift.

Let this be a lesson to us all, regarding honesty and true human concern for others. Let us not grow faint in doing good deeds and in following the right paths of conscience. And if anyone out there wishes to take up a collection so our heroine, Billie Watts, can have her 75-year old teeth fixed, please let us know if there's a bank in Murfreesboro Tennessee which would like to sponsor the effort. I myself will gladly kick in $10 bucks to send dear, sweet, Billie Watts a bit of the good karma which she so earnestly deserves.

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