A trash collector is being recognized by the Clovis City Council tonight for returning a lost bank deposit pouch containing more than $1,000 in cash and checks that he discovered while picking up trash.
Martin Dominguez, a residential recycling collector from Allied Waste Services, was working his Clovis route on Dec. 13 when he saw one of the residents drop something as he tossed trash in his alley bin. As the man got in his van and drove away, Dominguez saw that whatever had been dropped was still on the ground.
"It looked like paper, so I didn't think anything of it," Dominguez said. "As I got closer, it looked like a bank deposit bag, which is what it turned out being."
Dominguez picked up the Bank of America deposit pouch and saw that it contained a deposit slip, $763 in cash and about $300 in checks, Allied Waste Services said in a release.
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"To be honest, I looked at it and said, 'Whoa,' " Dominguez said. "But as my mom would say, 'Let your conscience be your guide.' And returning it was the right thing to do."
Dominguez drove to the front of the house to return the pouch, but no one answered at the door. After eating lunch and continuing his route, Dominguez again tried to return the pouch, to no avail. As he was about to pull away from the curb, the homeowner returned.
The homeowner, Jose Escobar, was on his way to the bank when he noticed he was missing the deposit pouch, which contained money for his church. Escobar was returning home to search for the pouch when he met Dominguez.
Dominguez said Escobar was ecstatic when he learned Dominguez had found the pouch and its contents.
Dominguez said he debated even telling his supervisor about the find, but decided it would be best if he knew.
"I can only imagine the devastating feeling Mr. Escobar must have had when he realized he had lost his church's bank deposit," Dominguez said he told his route supervisor Mike Tucker.
Allied Waste General Manager Dan Capener said this is the first time anyone in his division has found a bank deposit pouch like this.
Allied Waste recognized Dominguez and gave him a restaurant gift certificate during its division safety meeting in December.
A grateful Escobar also gave Dominguez a Christmas gift to thank him for his integrity in returning the bank pouch.
Capener shared the incident with Clovis Mayor Jose Flores and another City Council member during a meeting of the Clovis Chamber of Commerce.
"They were moved by the story," Capener said. "But I had no idea what they might do."
Tonight, the Clovis City Council will present a proclamation to Dominguez "for demonstrating superior customer service."