Bus boy ensures safe return of $3,000 left at Grand Junction diner

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. -- A Grand Junction busboy found $3,000 in cash and didn't know who it belonged to; now, many are calling the man a picture-perfect citizen after doing the right thing to make sure the money gets back in the hands of the person who lost it.

The hustle and bustle of a local diner is as American as apple pie and a cheeseburger and it's at Randy's Southside Diner in Orchard Mesa you find regulars like Darrell Cox and hard working people like Johnny "Thumper" Duckworth making the experience pleasant and comfortable.

"These people who come in here our family to us, we take care of them," said Johnny, a busboy at the diner.

These two men now share a deep connection.

On Tuesday, Darrell came in for breakfast and sat down at a booth, ordering bacon and eggs. He paid and left, not realizing he forgot something very important behind.

Around this time Johnny was talking to his boss, owner Randy Emmons.

"He's worked for me for 9 years. He's one of the hardest working guys I've ever met," said Randy.

Johnny went about collecting dishes, washing them, and checking the house to make sure the diner was spotless.

"I was coming around here to check around like I always do, I wanted to look in the bathroom,” said Johnny. “[It was] just laying on the floor, dead as a door knob just laying there. So I picked it up and the boss was standing right here."

"He walked up to me and said ‘Boss, I found this envelope, it feels like it has a lot of money in it,’” said Randy. “And he handed it to me and walked away… And I opened the envelope up and there was 30 100-dollar bills. I couldn't believe it, I was shocked.”

Shocked by the amount...but also knowing that money is something Johnny desperately needs.

"Right now he's riding his bike back and forth to work, it’s winter. And he gets his paycheck garnished for medical bills he had to have," said Randy.

But Johnny says he would never take money that didn't belong to him.

"It's not mine. I work for a living, I make money," said Johnny.

Randy took the cash and the slip back to the bank, where clerks quickly realized it belonged to someone who had no idea he even lost it.

"The bank called and I was like, why is the bank calling me to tell me they have my money when I just got the money? So I went to the bank and they told me Randy brought it in," said Darrell.

But Randy and Johnny had no idea who it belonged to until Thursday, when Darrell came back to his regular spot.

"He was here at the counter and I was back at the booth with one of my grandsons,” said Darrell. “I wrote him a note on the back of an envelope ... It said Merry Christmas to a super honest guy."

"His nephew came with the same envelope that had the $3,000 in it. Gave me $300 out of it,” said Johnny. “The heart, gave me some heart."

The same can be said for Darrell.

"Makes me feel a lot better about people. Knowing there are a lot of honest people out here. Like I said I never have known where it went, I would have never had a clue," said Darrell.

Randy set up an online fundraiser to "Tip Thumper" on GoFundMe. That fundraiser had surpassed its goal of $3,000 by Sunday night.