Once, my first husband found a wallet on the access road of the interstate. It had a phone number in the wallet, we called the guy and he gratefully came and picked it up. He had laid it on top of his car and had driven off.
Second time was a lady who had left her purse in a shopping cart. I took it back to the store.
If it were a designer wallet that contained evidence of a person who has tons and tons of money (i.e. Black Amex Card etc.), I might, just might, be tempted to keep the cash and return the rest -- I mean, a person like that could spare a little for me. But otherwise I'd certainly return it complete. Maybe it belongs to an OAP who can hardly afford to feed herself or the such like.
Actually, a woman I stood behind at a bank's Cash Dispenser forgot to take her money. When it was my turn, a bundle of cash was hanging out of the slit. I ran after her and gave her the money. In the real situation, I'm pretty honest. But the amount of cash in my wallet would be less than the wallet is worth, so I'd want the wallet back more than the cash.
Definitely return it intact - I LOVE thinking of the person receiving it unexpectedly! Even better is waiting around for as long as you can for someone to come looking, either frantically or trying not to let everyone know they've lost something valuable. You can offer to help and if it's the right person, you can hold it out and say, You mean this wallet? I love, Love, LOVE doing things like that!
When I used to work at my former employer, I was taking my break int he cafeteria, and, I noticed a large folder on the floor under one of the tables.
I assumed it belonged to one of our managers, because they were usually leaving stuff just laying around. So, I went over and picked it up, and looked at it briefly, and, I noticed an envelope that was pretty stuffed, that said "petty cash". I looked and there was over $400.00 in there!
Well, I brought it to our service office, and told them to lock it up in case somebody claimed it. It didn't appear to be anything that came from our store. Well, since it was such a large amopunt of money, they had me sign a waiver, saying exactly how much was in the envelope. That way if nobody claimed it in 30 days, it would be mine!
Well, I was on my last break about 6 hours later, and I saw this woman going around and looking under all the tables, pulling out the chairs, even digging in the trash. So I asked her what she was looking for. She just responded that she lost a folder.
And, I asked her to describe it. She told me everthing that was in it, and when I told her I found it, and turned it in. She gives me a big hug! Oh my god you saved my life! She came back to where I was working with her envelope to thank me again for finding it. She wanted to give me a $20.00 reward.
I told her it was fine. She could keep her money. I was just doing my job. She wrote a letter to the company, praising me for being the most honest person she ever met. my boss bragged about that for years.
Than of course for all my good deeds of 15 years, the company that once praised me fires me over 30 minutes of late breaks.
I actually have another incident that happened just before Christmas 2008. My daughter and I were shopping at the mall and she spotted a $20 bill on the floor in this store. I picked it up and tucked it in my pocket. We continued to shop and I continued to find $20 bills. At this point, I begin to think it's a joke to see what I'd do. I'm looking around to see if anyone is looking for the money and I see only a couple of people in the store. It was a teenage boy and girl and the girl looked frantic and was digging around in her purse. I went to the register to pay for our item and asked the clerk if anyone had reported some money missing. He pointed to that girl and said she had. She had just tried to pay for her stuff and couldn't find her cash. I told him that I had found it and we called her over. She was very appreciative. It was nearly $100. She had put it in her pocket and it had been falling out as she walked around the store.
Kiwis and Aussis are pretty similar when it comes to stuff like that. Probably 85% of us would always try to return it or hand it in.
Most of us take the time to ask ourselves; How we would feel if we lost it ourselves. It wasn't that long ago that we used to leave our keys in parked cars and our doors and windows open when we went out.