Brief case found in car park with money and cards in it.
Brief case found in car park with money and cards in it. Marc Stapelberg

Man's act of kindness after finding briefcase full of cash

AN ACT of kindness came full circle when a briefcase containing nearly $500 in cash, bank cards and sensitive business and personal information was returned to its owner.

Last Friday, Byron Bay business owner and director Tiffany Power was leaving an appointment with her accountant in Lismore when she received a phone call. As she took the call she put her briefcase down beside her car in Clyde's carpark, but became distracted and drove off without the briefcase.

"It's tax time so my book keeper had forwarded absolutely all of our paperwork, bank statements, phone bills and new bank cards," Ms Power said.

Sitting on top of the paperwork within the briefcase was an envelope with $480 inside.

"I'm not even sure why I put the cash in there," she said.

"My husband had given it to me that morning."

Unaware, Ms Power went about her afternoon and picked her kids up and began cooking dinner. A few hours later she received an unknown phone call.

"It was this very shy sounding guy, named Shae," she said.

"He said he was looking for the owners of a briefcase he found in the carpark.

"My heart just dropped I hadn't even realised ... I thought it was in the car."

She admitted if she had have realised the briefcase was lost, she would have written it off.

"I'm still dumbfounded and am so grateful that it was someone like Shae, who found it," she said.

"He had access to pretty much everything I own, like my mortgages, business expenses and employee information.

"I would have been on the phone to the bank cancelling everything ... The things I would have had to do, had that briefcase not been returned to me, would have cost me thousands.

"It's pretty heavy what he had in his little hand, I'm just really grateful."

During the call, Shae proceeded to tell Ms Power he was in the Lismore caravan park with the briefcase.

"I asked him if there was anything left in it, because I really wasn't expecting the cash or my cards to still be there," she said.

"He said he thought there was but wasn't sure what some things were, but that they looked important."  

Ms Power immediately turned the oven off and jumped in her car to meet Shae.

"I actually got quite emotional when I saw him, because I realised how bad this could have been if that briefcase had of fallen into someone else's hands," she said.

"The ripple effect on my family would have been huge."

After the exchange, Ms Power hugged Shae and felt compelled to reward him for his honesty and kindness.

"I gave him the $480 in the envelope," she said.

"It was the least I could do. It was a hit in the pocket to me but the expense of not having that stuff back would have cost tenfold."

She said, to her surprise Shae initially refused the reward.

"I told him he deserved it," she said.

"He was genuinely happy knowing he'd done a good deed."

Shae told her he hadn't had an easy life, but he knew right from wrong.

"I just found that so touching," she said.

"He told me he'd use the money to register his car, which had been out for three months.

"He'd been looking for work, but was finding it difficult without his wheels. He didn't even open the envelope in front of me to see how much money he'd got off me or anything."

Ms Power received a text from Shae that evening thanking her for her kindness.

"He said he was pinching himself that something as simple as returning a briefcase has literally changed his week, month, year," she said. 

That evening, Ms Power shared her story on the Lismore Information Exchange Facebook page and the post got more than 750 likes.

"This situation is a rarity," she said.

"It touched people's hearts, because there is honesty out there, we just don't hear about it enough."

Ms Power hoped to stay in touch with Shae and said she wanted to help him find a job.

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