Ok, so lets see…
I walk down a hallway, see a $ 20 on the floor, and no one else around.
I pick it up and pocket it (find me someone who wouldn’t)
Later in the day, I hear that someone in the office has lost a $ 20 (be that personal money, OR company money, doesn’t matter)…
Ya, of course I am going to return it to them directly… and I am going to also owe up where I found it (in the hallway near the coke machine)
I have found countless things in my 50+ years of lifetime that people have lost or dropped… and I always make a point of trying to return them to their RIGHTFUL owners (have looked thru purses & wallets, for info, made phone calls, and even delivered to folks)
But I am also skeptical about the honesty of others… having been I believed burned in the past (sadly, not everyone is as ethical as myself I’ve discovered over my lifetime)
So in the case of cash, I won’t turn it into Management etc. If I work in the building I am pretty sure I am going to hear about the loss… I may even put up a sign. “Did you lose something? Item found, please see ___ to identify”
If I don’t work in the building (ie visiting a store) and find something that obviously belongs to someone else, and doesn’t have ID with it, then I make a judgement call. Someone leaves their jacket behind in a change room, I turn it in to the Cash / Customer Service Desk. If it is money, a diamond ring, or a wallet with no Identifying features, then more than likely I give some basic info to the cashier… (“I found something of value… if anyone comes in saying they lost something… please have them call me at ___”). Then I would advertise (BTW – Found Ads in a local Newspaper are usually FREE) or if it was a Mall contact the Mall’s Customer Service Kiosk, and if possible also put up an Ad nearby (many Kiosks have Community Bulletin Boards)
AND if it was something that was truly valuable, like a Diamond Ring, Watch or a Wallet, I’d also contact the Police Dept to let them know that I found it. (Sometimes they just take the info down and let me hold onto it until it is claimed, othertimes they ask you to turn it into them for safe-keeping). IF all efforts are exhausted and no one comes forward to claim it, then the Police typically let you know you can keep it.
My lifetime record is usually in favour of the Person who lost something (yippee, there is a God), vs me. I think there has only been 2 occasions where I’ve been awarded the findings (money both times). The first time I was a little kid (the incident that set the precident for WHY I do what I do) and the second was as an adult. The first time, after the Police investigation, and the money was handed over to me, my parents used it to buy me a bicycle (a bike I loved dearly for about 10 years). The second time, I donated the money to the local Food Bank (figured as it was “found money” it could do a lot more good there for many, than just being mine to spend willy-nilly on some not so significant purchase)
EDIT TO ADD – I see others have referenced Karma… Ya she is my friend, and has been very good to me in my lifetime … YOU DO NOT MESS WITH KARMA !!